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NYC announces $15 million mold cleanup program

New York City is launching a $15 million program to clean up at least 2,000 homes contaminated with mold because of flooding during Sandy, NBC New York reported Thursday.

Storm victims enrolled in the program will be able to get their homes scrubbed of mold for free by private contractors.

Money for the project is being put up by three charities: The American Red Cross, the Robin Hood Foundation and the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.

No federal, state or city tax dollars are involved. The work is being overseen by a nonprofit development company.

Mold has become a problem in flood-ravaged parts of the city, and the cost of properly removing the stuff can be substantial.

And unlike other types of damage, the Federal Emergency Management Agency doesn't cover mold remediation.

Mayors in New York and New Jersey are taking steps to resolve a dilemma for owners of storm-damaged properties.

Meanwhile, officials in the city have released new flood maps that suggest homeowners rebuild higher, but current zoning might not allow that, NBC New York reported.

But Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed an order Thursday suspending zoning height limits for property owners rebuilding after Sandy.

They'd have to build according to the new flood levels. There are some other restrictions.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency released preliminary new flood maps Monday for part of the city. They double the number of properties in flood zones. Many buildings already in such zones might have to be raised to avoid flooding in strong storms.

Copyright NBC New York