WASHINGTON — Neta Vaught said her unit inside Congress Park Apartments in Southeast, D.C. is making her children sick and management is not helping.
The mother of five called WUSA9’s Delia Gonçalves who soon discovered several other tenants had similar problems.
“There’s a least 20 people around here saying the same thing, they have mold in their units,” said Tawanna Gross. Takeita Dicks is among them. Dicks has sickle cell anemia and is virtually blind. Gonçalves profiled her a few months back when her basement apartment was flooding.
This time Vaught called WUSA9, but soon Roneika Williams and Tawanna Gross joined several other neighbors not merely complaining about the mold but showing Gonçalves proof. “My bones ache,” said Gross, “The doctor said I have mold in my system.” Gross showed us a doctor’s note.
Williams flipped through a 2018 inspection report form the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. She said her daughters experience headaches and nose bleeds.
“The hospital sent the report to the DOEE because I had too many ER visits (with my son),” said Vaught. The Department of Energy and Environment cited several violations in Vaught’s unit including a possible lead hazard from chipping paint and mold. She said they have so much mold she had to get a new breathing machine for her six-year-old son who has asthma.
The stress is taking a toll on the 37-year old mom too. “Dealing with this high blood pressure,” said Vaught wiping tears from her eyes, “I don’t even want to go to sleep.”
The neighbors said property managers change so often that all they get are band-aid fixes. Moldy vents in Vaught’s apartment were spray painted. De-humidifiers were placed inside Gross’ unit. And the various mold issues in Williams’ home have all returned – a year after the “fixes.”
“People don’t care about Ward 8,” said Williams, “if we were in Ward 2, we would be getting answers but Ward 8 – it’s like we’re at the bottom. We’re like the scum."
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“I’m not OK if I’m fighting with landlords who just don’t care!” said Vaught.
Edgewood Management owns nearly 30 others developments in D.C. alone. The company never returned our calls for comment, but the residents are organizing and plan to form a tenant association.