New York City signed a settlement with the federal government Monday, agreeing to invest billions more in fixing the city’s unsanitary public housing, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson and Principal Deputy Inspector General Helen M. Albert jointly filed the settlement Monday, along with a complaint alleging the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) continually violated basic safety and sanitation standards in its public housing. The complaint alleges the NYCHA left housing in unsanitary conditions and lied to federal inspectors about its use of lead paint, which is toxic. (RELATED: EPA Fined The ‘Fixer Upper’ Couple’s Company $40K For Lead Safety Violations)
The settlement was reached by a consent decree in which New York City and the NYCHA agree to the terms of the settlement while not admitting guilt to the numerous charges and violations.
“Instead of protecting children from lead poisoning, NYCHA systematically violated EPA and HUD lead paint safety regulations and covered up its noncompliance,” Pruitt said in a statement. “Today’s landmark settlement puts a stop to that.”
By the terms of the agreement, New York City will provide an additional $1.2 billion to NYCHA over five years, and $200 million every year after until the violations and problems are fixed.
The NYCHA is responsible for maintaining 176,000 apartments but has fallen behind on necessary repairs. Over the winter, 320,000 residents were without heat for a time when some of the NYCHA’s boilers failed, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“This historic agreement marks a new era for New York City’s public housing, one that puts families and their children first,” Carson said in a statement. “New York City and New York State are making an unprecedented commitment to put NYCHA on a new path.”
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