The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has found no mold or disrepair at Long Beach Housing Authority homes, the agency reported in response to residents alleging the buildings were neglected after superstorm Sandy to the point of being discriminatory.
Long Beach city officials in April asked for HUD to investigate discrimination claims and review conditions at the Channel Park Homes in the city’s North Park region. A list of repairs and complaints were presented to city officials by the Syosset-based advocacy group ERASE Racism.
HUD officials said in a June 2 letter to City Council president Len Torres that six units at Channel Park were inspected April 28 and no mold was found in any homes. Additionally, all kitchen appliances were working, drainage was not a problem, and all previously water-damaged drywall had been replaced, HUD reported.
The Long Beach Housing Authority also hired a mold testing company to sample homes. HUD officials said they would continue to monitor Channel Park to make sure it meets requirements for sanitary and safe housing.
Long Beach City Councilwoman Anissa Moore, who helped raise the concerns to federal officials, said she wants further testing and believes the small sample of homes tested was insufficient.
“It’s a flawed study. You have over 100 units and to say that mold does not exist is unfair when you’ve looked at a sampling of six units,” Moore said. “There are still residents living in units that require remediation. This is not in any way to cast any negative feelings onto the housing authority, but let’s do due diligence and get a better sample.”
Housing Authority director Mike Cruz said the study proved there was no mold or problems related to Sandy, which flooded the city in October 2012. Testing in all 13 housing authority buildings found one that needed to be treated from an unrelated flooding backup, he said.
Cruz said the authority follows federal regulations and answers tenant complaints within 24 hours.
“The study speaks for itself,” Cruz said. “We knew all along, after researching what was done and talking to superintendents, that we did the right thing. The inspection found there was no basis to” the complaints.
The housing authority is conducting $9 million in upgrades at Channel Park using post-Sandy funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Cruz said.
Housing officials plan to make flood prevention and water proofing improvements to the complex, including moving basement equipment to the roof level as well as adding new hot water and heating equipment, and generators.