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MOLD REMEDIATION

Thousands of families in the areas most impacted by Sandy continue to face an urgent and escalating health crisis: mold infestation.

Dangerous mold remediation work is being carried out by volunteers and workers with little training or protections. Poor workmanship by untrained or unscrupulous contractors can leave behind traces of mold, requiring work to be done again. Mayor Bloomberg’s $15 million private program is a positive step but the projected 2,000 homes it will help falls far short of the actual need. Additionally, the city has not ensured that the jobs created are skilled, economy-building jobs that help Sandy-impacted low-income residents recover. Read More

We need a mold remediation program that’s backed up by access to funds, worker training, job quality standards, safety procedures and community-level coordination.

Back Home, Back to Work is a joint community-labor initiative that taps into hundreds of qualified expert mold remediation contractors and hundreds of union workers with the training and skills to do the work well the first time and who are ready to begin work immediately. Under Back Home, Back to Work, mold remediation would be done in a systematic and cost-effective way that goes block-by-block rather than one house, building, or business at a time. Back Home, Back to Work would also create hundreds of new family-sustaining jobs for non-union workers, through providing safety and skills training to local residents –prioritizing those from Sandy-impacted communities and other vulnerable groups, like the long-term unemployed—and placing and hiring them into union jobs for the recovery period.

Call to Action

  • Immediately request adequate federal, state, and city funds for a dedicated city initiative to handle comprehensive mold remediation that is accessible to low-income residents affected by Sandy.
  • Designate the city agency best positioned to administer a large scale program of this type, with a proven track record of working with community and labor partners, and provide that agency with a firm directive and adequate resources to make the program efficient and effective.
  • Handle mold remediation with a block-by-block strategy that effectively deploys qualified contractors, and prioritize areas with the highest density of water-damaged homes and the lowest median income.
  • Provide safety and skills training to local residents – prioritizing those from Sandy-impacted communities and other vulnerable groups – a put them into union jobs during the recovery period.
  • Urge the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) to effectively address mold problems that often pre-date Sandy, and to work with public housing residents to make sure they are accessing mold remediation jobs.

March 12, 2014 / Resource

Weathering the Storm: Rebuilding a More Resilient NYCHA post-Sandy

This report uses data from 600 surveys, interviews and background research, to reveal some of the major issues that NYCHA residents have faced since Hurricane Sandy, such as slow and inadequate repairs, malfunctioning boilers, mold and a lack of job opportunities. The report offers practical and effective solutions that the new NYCHA Chair and City leadership can use as a roadmap as they partner with community based organizations to assess how to spend Sandy related funds, revise NYCHA’s emergency procedures and consider broader NYCHA reforms. Read More


May 11, 2013 / Media Coverage

Report sees widespread mold after Sandy

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, By Jack Curran, May 11, 2013. Six months have passed since Hurricane Sandy struck the shores of New York, and as a recent report put out by several Sandy advocacy groups shows, many residents are now faced with mold problems. According to “Sandy’s Mold Legacy: The Unmet Need Six Months After the Storm,” thousands of homes have developed mold since Hurricane Sandy. The report was put out by the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding along with several other organizations including ALIGN, Community Voices Heard, Faith in New York, Make the Road NY, New York Communities for Change and VOCAL-NY Read More


May 10, 2013 / Media Coverage

Groups tour mold damage

The Times Ledger, By Steve Mosco, May 10, 2013. Hurricane Sandy left behind an ongoing health threat in the Rockaways that lingers long after the water receded. A persistent and pervasive mold infestation creeps up the walls of gutted residences, as families douse the fungus with bleach in a futile attempt at eradication. More than six months after the superstorm surged through the city and devastated parts of Queens, the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding, a group of more than 50 community, faith, labor and environmental organizations, released a report slamming the city for its handling of the mold cleanup. Read More


May 10, 2013 / Media Coverage

Eye On Rockaway

The Wave, By Miriam Rosenberg, May 10, 2013. On Tuesday I joined Councilman Donovan Richards and the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding on a tour of homes in Rockaway which are infested with one of Sandy’s calling cards – mold. It is hard to imagine how homeowners are living with this health hazard, as I know I am still feeling the effects, the day after the tour, of being around it for a short time. This much needs to be done – the city must, as urged by Richards, use a portion of the funding it is receiving from the federal block grant money specifically for mold remediation Read More


May 10, 2013 / Media Coverage

Mold Still A Problem

The Wave, By Miriam Rosenberg, May 10, 2013. Six months after Sandy chased numerous local residents from their homes as a result of flooding and damage, it is still not safe to live in many of those homes. Toxic mold, a serious problem for many, was ad-dressed at a press conference and tour of several homes in Far Rockaway and Arverne earlier this week. On May 7th, Councilman Donovan Richards joined Faith In NY to press for more aid for mold remediation. Read More


May 8, 2013 / Media Coverage

In fighting mold, Staten Island residents falling through cracks

The Staten Island Advance, By Jillian Jorgensen, May 8, 2013. Despite attempts to tackle the pervasive problem of mold in homes soaked by Hurricane Sandy, some advocates say certain residents are falling through the cracks. "Sandy's Mold Legacy," a report released by a coalition of groups called The Alliance for a Just Rebuilding, urges the city to develop different programs to tackle the spores left behind by Sandy -- finding that only 17 percent of residents surveyed even knew about an existing program, Neighborhood Revitalization NYC. Read More


May 7, 2013 / Press Releases

Six Months After Sandy, Report Outlines Impact of Storm-Related Mold

Six months after Hurricane Sandy’s devastating impact on New York City, members of the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding today released a report entitled Sandy’s Mold Legacy: The Unmet Need Six Months After the Storm with two events in Staten Island and the Rockaways, to highlight the prevalence of mold in storm-damaged homes and neighborhoods. The report, based on surveys conducted with nearly 700 homeowners affected by the hurricane, finds that many of the estimated 70,000 to 80,000 homes affected by water damage have also been hit with mold infestations that threaten the health and safety of New Yorkers across the city. Given the inadequacy of existing City efforts to remediate mold, the report outlines solutions to remediate the problem in storm-ravaged homes across the outer boroughs. Read More


May 7, 2013 / Resource

Sandy’s Mold Legacy: The Unmet Need Six Months After the Storm

Six months ago, Hurricane Sandy brought floods and standing water to huge swaths of New York City. Sandy’s Mold Legacy: The Unmet Need Six Months After the Storm finds that many of the estimated 70,000 to 80,000 homes affected by water damage have also been hit with mold infestations that threaten the health and safety of New Yorkers across the city. The report outlines key findings from hundreds of community surveys in Staten Island and the Rockaways and --given the inadequacy of existing City efforts to remediate mold,-- outlines solutions to remediate the problem in storm-ravaged homes across the outer boroughs. Read More


May 7, 2013 / Media Coverage

Six months after Sandy, residents struggle with stubborn mold

Metro, By Dale Elsinger, May 7, 2013. When Hurricane Sandy hit Jackie Rogers’ home in Far Rockaway, the last thing she was worried about was a mold infestation. Situated on the island between Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, she packed up and left her home of six years as the storm rolled in. “I heeded Mayor Bloomberg’s words,” Rogers, who is in her 40s, told Metro. “I just got out.” Now, six months after the storm hit, she’s still dealing with a mold infestation she never fathomed, one that’s gone from bad to worse even as she’s tried to battle it. Read More


May 7, 2013 / Media Coverage

Amid Creeping Mold, Calls for City’s Help

The New York Times, By Christopher Maag, May 7, 2013. Kelly Lotz sits in her house on Moreland Street on Staten Island and smells mold in all directions. Since Hurricane Sandy, the house next door and all its contents — books, couch cushions, a refrigerator overturned in the hallway — have been sitting and rotting. The house on the other side has black mold climbing out of the broken windows and across the white wooden siding. Read More


April 29, 2013 / Media Coverage

6 Months After Superstorm Sandy, Signs Of Progress But More To Be Done

CBS News, April 29, 2013. Six months after Superstorm Sandy ravaged the Tri-State Area, the region continues its steady, but sometimes slow, pace to a full recovery. Sandy caused billions of dollars in damage and left tens of thousands of people homeless after coming ashore Oct. 29. half a year later, major issues including housing, business, tourism and coastal protection still remain. For many in some of the hardest-hit communities in New York City and Long Island — including New Dorp, Staten Island; Long Beach; the Rockaways; Red Hook; and Breezy Point, the recovery from Sandy has also been slow. Read More


April 29, 2013 / Press Releases

Six Months After Sandy, New Yorkers Rally for a Just Rebuilding, and Demand Stronger City Responses to Growing Concerns Over Housing, Mold, and Job Creation

Today, on the sixth month anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers from across the city gathered at City Hall to rally for a fairer and more equitable rebuilding. They demanded action from the city on three areas of growing concern: 1) inadequate housing for displaced residents; 2) untreated mold in damaged homes; 3) lack of transparency on jobs created using storm recovery funds to help communities rebuild. Read More


April 19, 2013 / Media Coverage

Report – NYC Sandy Rebuilding Flawed

The Wave, April 19, 2013. The Alliance for a Just Rebuilding (AJR), a citywide “coalition of community, faith, labor, environmental and policy organizations,” released a new report which, according to the group, exposes major flaws in the City’s Action Plan for Disaster Recovery and Sandy rebuilding effort. The report, titled “After Sandy, Prioritizing the Vulnerable and Displaced: Fixing Major Flaws in City Hall’s Disaster Planning,” is the first of its kind to gather together the latest evidence, data, and analysis from communities hit hardest by Sandy, according to the group. Read More


April 17, 2013 / Stories

My Job Serves the Community

Carlos Llenes is on the front lines of the movement for just, equitable and sustainable recovery and rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy. Originally from Ecuador, Carlos has been a remediation worker for more than 20 years, and is working with the environmental remediation company Synatec Incorporated to thoroughly clean and rehabilitate homes throughout New York and […] Read More


April 17, 2013 / Stories

Getting Education Out to the People Is the Best Thing

When Certified Microbial Remediation Specialist Todd Nugent took his company, Synatec Incorporated, to New Orleans to do mold remediation after Hurricane Katrina, he quickly learned that if a community does not have access to fast, professional mold clean-up specialists after flooding, misinformation rapidly steps in to fill the vacuum with dangerous results. ”Because they didn’t […] Read More


April 15, 2013 / Resource

After Sandy, Prioritizing the Vulnerable and Displaced: Fixing Major Flaws in City Hall’s Disaster Recovery Planning

New York City’s Action Plan for Disaster Recovery, released in draft form in late March, allocates $1.77 billion in federal Sandy funds. The federal money comes with standards that require the City to account for how its housing and recovery plans will support displaced residents. This report from the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding identifies a series of major flaws in the City’s Action Plan, and proposes solutions that will help ensure a just and equitable rebuilding for all New Yorkers. It gathers together the most up-to-date evidence, data, and analysis to highlight previously underreported weaknesses in the City’s disaster response after Sandy. And it offers a series of policy recommendations for the Bloomberg administration and 2013 mayoral candidates to adopt. Read More


April 15, 2013 / Press Releases

New Report Exposes Key Flaws in Sandy Rebuilding Effort, Gives Bloomberg, Mayoral Candidates Ways to Fix Them

Today the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding released a new report exposing major flaws in the City’s Action Plan for Disaster Recovery and Sandy rebuilding effort. The report, After Sandy, Prioritizing the Vulnerable and Displaced: Fixing Major Flaws in City Hall’s Disaster Planning, is the first of its kind to gather together the latest evidence, data, and analysis from communities hit hardest by Sandy, and to propose viable solutions for Bloomberg and the 2013 mayoral candidates to adopt. Read More


April 4, 2013 / Resource

Official Comments on New York City’s Proposed Action Plan for Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Program

The Alliance for a Just Rebuilding writes to comment on the New York City Action Plan for Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery. This plan is ambitious and forwards important recovery initiatives that we highlight here. We also see a number of deficiencies that should be addressed in order for the plan to serve the recovery needs of New Yorkers most in need, and comply with federal requirements. Read More


March 19, 2013 / Resource

Official Comments on New York State’s Proposed Partial Action Plan for Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Program

The Alliance for a Just Rebuilding writes to comment on the New York State Action Plan for Community Development Block Grant Program Disaster Recovery, Federal Register Docket No. FR-5696-N-01. The Alliance for a Just Rebuilding is made up of labor unions, workers centers and community, faith-based, environmental justice and policy organizations to address immediate relief and long-term rebuilding issues in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Read More


March 1, 2013 / Media Coverage

Questions Emerge About the Mold That Hurricane Sandy Left Behind

The New York Times, By Sarah Maslin Nir, March 1, 2013. At a mayoral debate in January, candidates vied to outdo one another in their dire warnings of a growing threat to public health that they said was hurting families all over New York City. Soon afterward, public and private groups pledged that millions of dollars would be spent to fight the scourge. And last month, Congressional representatives from New York called upon the federal government to help resolve what they called “this emerging crisis.” Read More


February 27, 2013 / Media Coverage

City Condemning Hurricane Victims to Moldy Fate, Say Advocates

LaborPress, By March Bussanich, February 27, 2013. A coalition of community-based groups held a presser on the steps of City Hall to offer solutions to get families displaced by Hurricane Sandy out of hotels and back into affordable housing. Errol Riley, a displaced Far Rockaway resident, said that city agencies are failing the storm’s victims by forcing families to move back into mold-infested units. Read More


February 22, 2013 / Resource

Factsheet on Mold: NYC’s Health Crisis Post-Sandy

Factsheet on mold and health after Sandy. Sandy-impacted neighborhoods are especially vulnerable to serious health effects from mold: children and seniors comprise about 25% of the population in Sandy-affected neighborhoods and Sandy-affected neighborhoods reported more than 30,000 asthma-related emergency room visits between 2008 and 2010. Read More


February 21, 2013 / Media Coverage

Homes affected by Sandy battle mold

ABC News, By Jeff Pegues, February 21, 2013. "How would you describe the day Superstorm Sandy moved through here?" Eyewitness News asked. "Actually it changed everybody's life I believe," said Jorge Gonzalo, a Rockaways resident. Nearly four months after the storm Jorge Gonzalo is still cleaning up. In the Rockaways, water from the ocean flooded his home. Read More


February 12, 2013 / Media Coverage

Gerritsen Beach beware: A warm weather mold menace is feared in the Sandy-struck neighborhood

The Daily News, By Lore Croghan, February 12, 2013. Mold left behind after Superstorm Sandy will run wild in Gerritsen Beach when warm weather comes, relief groups warn. Storm-ravaged neighborhoods citywide face a health menace from mold lurking in improperly cleaned homes, the Daily News revealed in a front-page special report Sunday. The danger is especially acute in the blue-collar waterfront community because nearly all its 2,000 homes were flooded during Sandy. Read More


February 10, 2013 / Media Coverage

Mold plagues homes flooded during Hurricane Sandy; deadly spores cause breathing and other health-related problems

The Daily News, By Greg Smith, February 10, 2013. In a gutted basement on Beach 59th St. in the Rockaways, ominous, black splotches cover gypsum board, plaster walls and wooden support beams. Breathing itself is difficult. Upstairs tenant Alberto Lespier, 56, says the ghastly rooms were supposedly “cleaned” by untrained workers who left behind toxic conditions he fears are ruining his health. “I have high blood pressure,” he said, as he trudged through the contaminated space clutching a paper mask to his face. “This is no good.” Read More


February 6, 2013 / Media Coverage

Imagining a ‘Just Recovery’ from Superstorm Sandy

In These Times, By Michelle Chen, February 6, 2013. Three months have passed since Hurricane Sandy battered New York and trashed the New Jersey coastline, and she hasn’t left. She’s still stalking the landscape strafed with mold and broken homes, and local activists worry that the government’s promises of tens of billions of dollars in federal funding will flood the storm-battered regions with further political turmoil. Read More


February 6, 2013 / Press Releases

Back Home, Back to Work Coalition Statement on Bloomberg Announcement of Mold Remediation Funds

"Back Home, Back to Work," a coalition of community and labor groups, released the following statement on Mayor Bloomberg’s announcement of federal funds coming to New York City for mold remediation in homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Read More


February 6, 2013 / Press Releases

Response to Mayor Bloomberg’s Announcement of Federal Grants for Sandy Relief

Today’s announcement from the Bloomberg Administration concerning the proposed used of its initial allocation of $1.77 billion in Federal Sandy Disaster Aid acknowledges that many New York neighborhoods and some of the city’s most vulnerable residents are still in dire straits after Hurricane Sandy. While the City’s use of aid money must be approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and requires community input, we are concerned that the Bloomberg Administration’s community input process to date sets an incredibly low bar for community participation in future allocation of Sandy related funds. Read More


February 4, 2013 / Media Coverage

Labor demands city action on post-storm mold crisis

The Times Ledger, By Karen Frantz, February 4, 2013. Members from several labor unions are putting pressure on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to address a growing problem in homes ravaged by Hurricane Sandy: mold. “It’s been nearly three months since Hurricane Sandy, yet thousands of residents are still out of their homes because they can’t go back because of the mold infestations in their houses,” said Nathalie Alegre, an organizer for the Alliance for a Greater New York, a labor-backed nonprofit that advocates for social and economic justice, speaking from the steps of City Hall Jan. 24 with several other labor union leaders and medical professionals. Read More


February 3, 2013 / Media Coverage

A living, lurking threat in Sandy-hit homes: mold

Yahoo!News, By Eileen Aj Connelly and Katie Zezima, February 3, 2013. Esther Tauscher stood outside her Staten Island home, leafing through boxes of family photos that had been steeped in storm water. She paused to point out life events — her honeymoon, holding her baby boy in a hospital bed. The photos are just about all she has left. Behind her, the home where she and her family lived for 14 years was being dismantled by a masked volunteer crew that tossed out her possessions and ripped out floorboards and walls. Read More