After additional follow up by Justice First, as well as a Washington City Paper article, What Life is Like - Still - in D.C.'s Public Housing, the District of Columbia Housing Authority finally released the results of mold inspections that were ordered in the units of Yahvon Early and Gretchen Helm. The results of a combined three swabs resulted in a disturbing discovery of concerning levels of various types of mold.
8/28/2018 Update - Yahvon Early
While the Washington, D.C. area has been under an Excessive Heat Warning, Yahvon Early and her daughter have been without air conditioning since Sunday. In the usual pattern of events, multiple requests for service had to be issued.
Meanwhile, the results of the mold inspection test conducted in her unit prompts serious concern over the toxins Ms. Early and her family were exposed to over a prolonged period of time, as water damage has repeatedly resulted in the growth of toxic mold. A large dehumidifier in her unit is emptied three times a day. The results of the mold inspection test are concerning not only because of their results, but because only one sample was taken and tested, and no air quality test was conducted.
Pictured above is the summary of what was found in Ms. Early's public housing unit at Montana Terrace from just one swab sample in one room.
8/28/2018 Update - Gretchen Helm
Yesterday, Justice First along with an attorney visited Gretchen Helm's unit, finding that mold remains rampant throughout her family's household. It should be noted for the public that attempting to remove toxic black mold, as many families attempt to do in order to a) protect their households and b) keep them hygienic, is highly dangerous. Cleaning mold disrupts it, and can result in the release of mycotoxins that cause serious health conditions, including disease and even death.
In Ms. Helm's unit, only three swab samples were taken, and the results are revealed below. Like in Ms. Early's case, samples were not taken from all areas where mold was clearly present, nor was an air quality test conducted. The D.C. Housing Authority has refused to set a date to remediate the mold not only in Ms. Helm's unit, but in units throughout the property where tenants suffer from exposure.
Yesterday, Justice First, along with an attorney visited not only Ms. Helm's unit, but several other units throughout the property. Below are just a few of the photographs taken from multiple units throughout the property afflicted by mold and rodent infestation, which are demonstrative of a pattern of neglect and complete disregard by the city for the health and safety of public housing residents. This takes place in the context of an affordable housing crisis that serves as a guarantee to many that they will remain living in dangerous conditions, not because of anything that they have done, but because of money that they do not have to buy their way out of the circumstances created by a housing market with private profit making interests, and a political system with priorities that do not include safe, affordable housing as a human right.
Justice First will continue to feature regular updates on the living conditions of two families at Montana Terrace, a public housing property in Northeast Washington, D.C., managed by the D.C. Housing Authority. This report constitutes our ninth update on Montana Terrace, which began with interviews that exposed deliberate neglect by the Housing Authority. The purpose of our reports on the status of the families of Yahvon Early and Gretchen Helm, is to demonstrate to the public the absurdity of a system that requires constant follow up to demand, and in many cases beg the city to protect its own residents from safety hazards caused by its own agencies. Click here to read last week's update.