Mold forces families from their home

April 7, 2008 9:00:29 PM PDT
A half dozen low income families are having a very rough time now that a mold problem has chased them from their homes. Instead of taking the children home after school the bus dropped them off at a Motel 6 in Maple Shade.

It's where their families are staying because a mold problem caused the health department to declare their apartment building unsafe for living and shut it down.

"All my children have had diarrhea, nausea, aches, pains," said Lisa Nobles.

Their mothers rent apartments in a transitional housing facility on Kaighn Avenue in Camden. They moved there to climb out of homelessness, many after leaving abusive relationships. Recently crews discovered mold when investigating reports of a smelly leak.

"When they tore it down, that's when the smell exploded," she said.

The mothers now believe hidden mold had been making their children sick for months.

"We've all been having, fatigue, headache, upper respiratory, cracked feet. Everything. Everything in this paper we've had," said Latanya Woodson.

The non-profit office of economic opportunity owns the building and is paying for the Motel 6 stay. Still it's tough. The mothers, who just paid rent, had to buy clothes and toiletries after they were shut out of their apartments.

Tanya Jenkins, who works at Checkers, can't afford to eat out every meal financially or nutritionally.

"Checkers did help me out gave employee discount to feed the kids today. But tonight, we've got to go to burger king," said Jenkins.

The mothers believe someone should have known about the mold. They feel angry, hurt and betrayed.

"I can't believe this is going on. That I'm homeless again out here in the street or in a hotel. I'm used to taking public transportation, but I'm out here on Route 73. I have no way to get to work," said Woodson.

Authorities say fixed by Sunday. Residents are skeptical that can be done that quickly or thoroughly.