WASHINGTON — Cellphone video showed water pouring from the ceiling of Brittney Bennet’s son’s bedroom.
Soaked plaster was littered all over the room, another wall had visible water stains that left parts of the wall peeling away like paper. You could hear the defeat in her voice as she narrated the cellphone video.
“Well, this is the second time today,” Bennet said.
You could hear the defeat in her voice. Not only did water leak from the ceiling, but the toilet also overflowed with raw sewage. She said she’s had problems in her home ever since she moved in and now her 6-year old son is sick.
“My youngest son has bronchitis,” Bennett said. "I’m dealing with mold, I’m dealing with floods, I’m dealing with cracks, I’m dealing with insects.”
Bennet said contractors told her broken pipes from her upstairs neighbor led to the Mother’s Day flood, but she said the large cracks covered up by carpet, shifting cabinets and plumbing problems are all old issues that have only worsened in the two years she’s lived here.
That’s when she and her two sons went from homeless to homeownership. “All the work I did to become a homeowner feels like a waste,” Bennett said. “I might as well be back homeless for this.”
“It’s a slap in the face to know everything I worked for…I can be back homeless at any time,” Robin McKinney said.
McKinney is Bennet’s neighbor and the area’s ANC Commissioner.
Back in February, WUSA9 interviewed McKinney and several others in the Talbert Street condos. The black women, many of who are mothers, are all low-income and took advantage of the District’s first-time homebuyer program. The women filed a fraud and discrimination lawsuit against the developer: Stanton View, LLC.
The suit alleges the women were sold dangerous homes with severe structural damage. WUSA9 reached out to Stanton View but did not hear back. However, we’ve learned the developers are suing the contractors for shoddy work.
In a new development, the Attorney General said the developer filed for bankruptcy.
Now, these women are appealing to city leaders and the agencies that helped them buy their homes for relief.
WUSA9 contacted several agencies including the Mayor’s office. Only the Attorney General’s Office returned our inquires sending over a statement that read in part:
"The developer provided evidence that over $400,000 in repairs have been made since 2017. In early 2021, our office learned of additional ongoing issues at the building…this is still under active investigation."
While the attorney general investigates, remediation crews cleaned up Bennet’s home hauling in industrial-size fans to dry things out.
The women are hoping a GoFundMe will help and that the city leader will listen. “Place us somewhere where we can feel comfortable even if we have to downsize at least we can be comfortable and safe,” she said.