Rep. Grimm Wants City To Declare Mold-Infested Homes Public Health Hazards

Dozens Of Homes On Staten Island Have Been Abandoned Since Sandy Hit

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Rep. Michael Grimm has joined some Staten Island residents to demand the city act to remove potentially toxic mold from abandoned homes.

Neighbors said the city’s program to help take care of mold following superstorm Sandy should expand to homes where the owners have not returned.

“The owners have never been to see the home, they have not done anything,” Stacey Sclafani told reporters including WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman. “I have small children, I’m concerned about their health ultimately more than my own.”

Touring a home in New Dorp Beach, Grimm (R-N.Y.) said the city must act to declare the dozens of abandoned homes public health hazards so the mold can be dealt with.

“And it’s not just the mold, I want to emphasize that. If you look at this home here, the ceiling is falling down,” he said. “Water is coming in.”

Residents said the mold has been growing at the vacant homes in their neighborhood since the storm hit on Oct. 29.

Mold inside a home in New Dorp Beach, Staten Island July 1, 2013. (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

Mold inside a home in New Dorp Beach, Staten Island July 1, 2013. (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

“I don’t know what I’m breathing in,” Topping Street homeowner Debbie Ingenito said.

“They said 9/11, the air quality was good,” resident Scott McGrath said. “I don’t want to see that happening 10 years later that people die because of mold exposure.”

The health department said mold generally doesn’t pose a risk to neighbors. But Grimm said action still needs to be taken.

“Do you want to live next door? Would anyone want to live next door to this house?” Grimm said.

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