• Credit: silive.com

Homeowners who have to rid their houses of mold after a flood find the job to be hard work. So what's happening to houses that got flooded and haven't been remediated — or even touched? In those houses, mold's foothold is uncontested — and in Staten Island, residents who have returned to work on their damaged homes say the moldy house next door has become a typical problem, according to a report by the Staten Island Advance ("Residents demand action as mold issues grow in Staten Island Sandy-devastated homes," by Tracey Porpora).

"Thirteen Midland Beach homes belonging to members of Eileen Pepel's family were heavily damaged or completely destroyed by Hurricane Sandy," reports the Advance. "While the Pepels are making strides to rebuild their homes that have been deemed 'safe,' they worry about neighbors' residences that are ridden with mold and appeared to have been abandoned by homeowners."

Congressman Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, N.Y., in the U.S. House of Representatives, says his office has received more than 60 complaints about mold-infested abandoned houses, the Advance reports. Urging the New York City Health Department to declare the infested homes "health hazards," Grimm said, "We are calling on the Department of Health to come into homes that have been abandoned, and are obviously a hazard. When you have garbage thrown all over and there are vermin running around, the house's integrity may not be there anymore... it's a public nuisance and hazard. We are calling on the Department of Health to declare these hazards so these houses can be taken down or fully remediated to make the neighborhood safe."