Head over to Kirby on the Loose for more great reporting on conditions in the Northampton Housing Authority:
Asbestos discovered in Cahill and Forsander
Northampton Housing Authority promises to remediate
A certain heroic tenant down at Cahill Apartments who shall remain nameless, had long wondered about this white heating pipe in his closet. The covering didn’t look like modern fiberglass insulation. This insulating material was grey; it looked like asbestos, and its protective wrapping had gaps in it.
So he complained to the DEP (the State Department of Environmental Protection). An asbestos inspector came to the public housing project on Fruit Street, examined heating pipes in two apartments, and left materials describing the hazards of asbestos with the tenants.
I went down to Cahill and then went over to Forsander Apartments to follow up on a phone call. The complex looks fine from the road, with all the flowers and all, but toward the back, the place gets ugly in places.
I walked into one apartment and then another and the one problem started into morph into many. There was also 1960s-era floor tile in the corridor that could be vinyl asbestos, there was bad ventilation in the apartments, mold, bad stoves, flaking paint and a general air of decay about Cahill. Oh, and fear. You sense the fear in the voices of tenants, who don’t want to complain, don’t want you to use their names, don’t want to get evicted. It’s easy to tell these people they have rights, but a lot of them have had close brushes with being homeless…
Northampton Media: “Health Risks Alleged at Northampton Public Housing” (2/3/10)
The Joseph H. McDonald House on Old South Street, one of two federally-funded NHA properties, is a case in point. I spoke with tenants there Jan. 24 who believe they have become chronically ill from flooding-related mold, improper asbestos removal, and uncleaned ventilation systems. Once allowed to progress to this point, such hazards are difficult to remediate.
Kirby on the Loose: “Paradise Lost” (2/2/10)
The Gazette and the Republican…have never reported on living conditions in public housing and probably never will, because it is unpleasant to remind people that there are two, three, a dozen different Northamptons. There is Meadowbrook and Cahill and Crescent Street and Dryads Green.
Northampton Media: “Salvo House Report” (12/16/09)