The office of U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, has launched an investigation of health concerns among public housing units and homeless shelters across the city. Cases of elevated blood lead levels and false claims from housing and shelter officials will fall under the scrutiny of federal prosecutors, the New York Times reports.
On Wednesday, the investigation was made public a letter about the issue from Bharara and an order from a judge, both of which were filed in federal court. U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Deborah A. Batts issued the order, asking the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to provide information and data related to complaints of poor conditions at the units and shelters.
Although the heath department is currently cooperating, the filed documents state that earlier requests for the information have been declined in order to skate past a violation of city and state health codes, the Times adds in its report.
Officials at the Housing Authority, better known as NYCHA, has said that cuts to federal funding have marred efforts to maintain the sprawling number of the deteriorating apartments it oversees.
The Times also wrote that NYCHA must follow federal requirements in regards to lead-based paint and the general upkeep and safety of the housing units. The federal documents also makes mention of looking into false claims filed by the city to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is one of the agencies that funds NYCHA.
The investigation appears to be the most concerted effort to address the concerns of public housing and shelter residents under Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s administration.
SOURCE: New York Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform