Posted on July 25, 2010 at 4:47 PM
Monday, Jul 26 at 7:53 AM
HOUSTON—Allen Parkway Village, a public housing community in Houston’s historic 4th Ward, has a history of mold.
And according to some of the folks who live there, people are convinced the Houston Housing Authority has failed to keep them safe.
“There’s mold everywhere you look,” according to Margena Ursin, a five-year tenant who believes mold has negatively impacted her family’s health. “My son has asthma and it’s only getting worse.”
Ursin and about a half dozen of her neighbors met with one another in her living room to trade stories about mold and what they say has been an inadequate response by the Houston Housing Authority.
“Every time we complain, all they do is send workers out to paint over the mold,” said Marilyn House. “That’s not removing it. That’s just covering it up.”
Some tenants pointed toward dark growths near the air vents and on the walls. In one case, dark stains covered a living room window. One tenant pointed to a light fixture that appeared to be filled with water. He said the water seemed to be causing mold to grow.
Officials with the Houston Housing Authority insist that whenever tenants have complained in the past, workers have immediately responded. Officials also pointed out that private contractors retained by the HHA have tested and never detected a mold problem.
An HHA spokesperson added that in some cases, tenants refused to allow maintenance workers access to their units, making it almost impossible to perform repairs.
“There’s nothing we can do if people don’t want us to go into their apartment because they’re afraid that we might see something else,” said HHA Spokesperson Dennis Spellman.
“If people have a problem that they want looked at, we are more than willing to go into their apartment, look at it and address any problems that we find.”
But some APV residents remain unconvinced, and fearful that their choice of a place in which to live has placed their health in jeopardy.
“I’m one of the original Allen Parkway residents who fought to keep this place open,” said Marilyn House. “Now I wonder what we fought for in the first place.”