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The Growing Mold Problem in New York City's Public Housing

The infestation worsened after Hurricane Sandy, and a Brooklyn-based advocacy group is calling for a solution.
Tape covers the windows at a public housing complex on Coney Island after Hurricane Sandy.
Tape covers the windows at a public housing complex on Coney Island after Hurricane Sandy.Brendan McDermid/Reuters

“You can feel mold as soon as you walk into an apartment. It’s almost like the air is heavier,” says Catherine McBride, the community development program manager for the Red Hook Initiative in Brooklyn.

Since Hurricane Sandy in 2012, residents of the Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn—one of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments most affected by the storm—have lived with worsening mold conditions in their apartments, and have received inadequate help from NYCHA. In response to a persistent community call for action, the Red Hook Initiative (RHI), a local youth development organization, conducted a survey of mold conditions in the local public housing complex. The results were released in a report this week.