New NYCHA Head Faces Daunting Problems

NYCHA Problems

Incoming New York City Housing Authority Director Gregory Russ faces a number of challenges, including serious problems with lead poisoning which have existed since at least 2012.

Over 400,000 people live in NYCHA’s 176,000 units, making this Authority by far the largest such organization in the country. For now, Russ and Bart Schwartz, whom a federal judge recently appointed as a monitor, are concentrating on fact-finding. Once they get down to business, lead paint testing may top the agenda.

Early returns are extremely discouraging. More than 75 percent of the 4,000-plus tests conducted so far have come back positive for lead exposure. The goal is to immediately eradicate 50 percent of lead paint and completely eliminate it by 2040. 

Lead eradication may be very slow in light of the other problems plaguing the NYCHA. There are allegations of rampant waste and mismanagement, along with other physical issues in public housing units, such as a mysterious “cascading putrid liquid” in one development.

Lead Poisoning Effects

Young children under six are particularly vulnerable to the effects of lead poisoning. These young victims often suffer physical symptoms, such as abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and overall fatigue. Perhaps more importantly, especially over the long term, lead poisoning often causes a significant brain injury.

Specific symptoms include:

  • Diminished hand/eye coordination and muscle coordination,
  • Irritability,
  • Lower IQ,
  • Depression,
  • Moodswings,
  • Memory loss,
  • Headaches, and
  • Diminished cognitive and problem-solving skills.

All these symptoms make it difficult for these victims to function at school. As a result, they often fall behind their classmates in early elementary school. The lack of development has a snowball effect, as these children often get further and further behind. Problems at school often cause depression and problems at home, and the downward spiral continues.

Other possible lead poisoning effects include lead nephrotoxicity (renal and kidney problems). Lead levels as low as 5 µg/dL have been linked to decreased kidney functions. At 10 µg/dL, many victims develop lead nephropathy, an often irreversible condition that wrecks kidney functions and increases blood pressure.

Lead and other heavy metals may also cause cancer and other serious or chronic health conditions.

Legal Options

In short, a tiny amount of lead may cause a lifetime of underachievement, pain, and suffering. These young victims never get a chance to reach their full potential.

Toxic exposure victims who lived in New York City Housing Authority are filing legal claims against the City, NYCHA, and other individuals for failure to identify and remediate the pervasive lead contamination.

Damages in a lead poisoning claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some extreme cases.

Even a tiny amount of lead may cause permanent injury. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in injury cases and we only recover a fee when we win your case. 

We encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation case evulation today.