NYCHA Failed on Lead, Residents #DeserveBetter

In April 2016, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chair Shola Olatoye first learned that the country’s largest public housing agency hadn't been following a lead inspection law. The law requires yearly inspections at apartments presumed to have lead paint where kids younger than 6 lived.

Did she alert residents right away to their failure to inspect for lead inside homes? No.

Instead, NYCHA and Chair Olatoye signed off on documents to the federal government saying inspections were complete, when they were not. NYCHA waited more than a year (15 months) to say anything to the public and alert residents on their failure to inspect for lead.

NYCHA put thousands of kids at risk and broke the law by blowing off mandatory inspections for lead inside apartments, and by lying to the federal government. Children under 6 — who are most vulnerable to dangerous lead poisoning — live in roughly 4,200 of the 55,000 apartments that are supposed to be inspected for hazards each year.


New York City residents who live in public housing deserve better from the city’s largest landlord. NYCHA and NYC Mayor de Blasio must be held accountable for the 1 in 14 New Yorkers who call NYCHA home.

Help us call NYCHA at 212-306-3416 with this list of demands:

  1. Free Blood Tests: Provide free on-site blood tests for every child under 6 years old on every NYCHA campus. Every parent deserves to know whether their child has been poisoned by lead.

  2. Trained Workers: Reports found that untrained workers were completing lead inspections and cleanups for years. NYCHA must ensure that all workers are properly certified to inspect and cleanup lead, and that they are safe while working too.

  3. Accountability: NYCHA, the Mayor and all those involved in this scandal must be held to the highest standard of accountability for their actions.

  4. Transparent Reporting: NYCHA must distribute public reports on the status of inspections and actions they have taken on lead-based paint problems within all NYCHA buildings.

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