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March 24, 2019

NYCHA promises new home for sickened East Harlem family

February 5, 2019
Josue Morales is pictured with his mother, Raquel, in a hospital bed in a recent photo. (Raquel Morales)

New York City Housing Authority officials vowed to find a new home for an ailing Manhattan family after the Daily News reported on mold, cold and other conditions in their NYCHA apartment making them sick.

On Sunday the News published the story of Josue Morales, a 12-year-old resident of Thomas Jefferson Houses in East Harlem, who was hospitalized five times between October and January for asthma attacks triggered by the conditions in his NYCHA apartment.

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Hours after the article was published, a team of inspectors visited Josue at home and vowed to move the boy and his family to a new apartment by the end of the week.

But Josue suffered another asthma attack and on Sunday night landed back in the emergency room for his sixth asthma hospitalization since October.

His mother, Raquel Morales, said NYCHA ignored the family’s calls for help until she turned to the News.

“Now they’re saying they will help us, so supposedly we’ll be moving out,” Morales said. “But did it really take a media report to get that level of reaction?”

Josue Morales (pictured) has asthma that may result from living in NYCHA housing in New York. He lives in the Thomas Jefferson Houses in East Harlem.
Josue Morales (pictured) has asthma that may result from living in NYCHA housing in New York. He lives in the Thomas Jefferson Houses in East Harlem. (Raquel Morales)

Morales said Josue and her daughter Alyssa, 18, both suffer from asthma due to mold and rotting plaster caused by leaky pipes and other problems in their apartment.

She said she’s been trying to transfer out of the apartment for years but NYCHA officials never took concrete steps to find her a different place until this week.

Now, she said, NYCHA authorities have promised to have her out of her current apartment by Friday.

NYCHA spokeswoman Robin Levine said NYCHA and the Department of Health are working to support Morales’ family.

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“NYCHA & DOH secured access to the home and met with this family,” Levin said. “We are providing them with coordinated care and readying the family to move into a new unit this week.”

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