In June of 2012, my three children and i moved into a 4 vedroom rental unit with the assistance of the government (section 8).
What started as a happy beginning, quickly became one of the hardest struggle ive ever encountered.
Approxamately 6-7 months after we moved in, i noticed a change. A change that i couldnt pinpoint at that moment, that involved my daughters and my health. For example; every time i turned on the heater (central hvac), my daughter would cough continuously. I assumed it was "dry" air, but it got so bad, i opted to bundle up my family and refrained from using the heater all together.
At the same time, my asthma which used to only make appearances when i was ill, was to a point that my inhaler became my new best friend.
Fast foward to March of 2014.
I noticed black spots around certain areas of the house. I hadnt ever investigated md, but hearing that it can actually be a real toxin cause my suspicion to contact my landlord.
He said its not mold. Its nothing. Dont worry and just wipe anything off.
A month later, shra (sacramento housing and redevelopment agency) FAILED the unit upon inspection due to the presence of blacK mold.
The shra inspector explained that the unit must be repaired and the lamdlord is responsible for such repair.
2 weeks later, another shra inspector "reinspected" the unit, who then passed it.
I assumed they were the professionals and knew what was dangerous and what was safe. I mean, there is such thing as safe mold.
So i continued on....until May/June of 2014, 3-4 months later.
I couldnt breath. I literally couldnt breath. It was horrible. I thought it was allergies. It wasnt.
As i sat on my kitchen floor trying to cook for my kids, i realized a leak from the kitchen sink. I immediately notified landlord. Through at least 50 different text messages and emails, i explained in detail the leak and the need for it to be addressed.
He sent his friends, or family to identify if there was a leak, but never sent anyone to fix it.
I then developed skin "legions". They were unbearable. They hurt, left scars, and were worsening.
I begged and pleaded with LL to address whatever is in the house that i seemed to be allergic to. He did nothing, except blame it on me.
I made a doctors appointment and after being evaluated it was determined that i had a skin fungal infection. I still had no idea how a conacted such an infection.
The next day i found out the cause.
The contractor was on the outside of the house evaluating the leak and as i walked within 5 feet of the kitchen, my skin reacted in such a way that it made the contractor himself to advise me to go to a hospital. He then explained that there was a tremendpus amount of toxic mold along side the house and would need to be eliminated immediately.
Who knew that it would happen to me? A normal, clean, attentive individual who was just trying to luve happily and take care of my children. Well, i suppose normalcy doesnt exclude anyone of such tragedy.
I thought that at least i will be able to breath again; that my kids can get back to a healthy life. At least the landlord now knows and be will fix it.
I suppose its those little hopeful thoughts we all possess that teach our strength how to thrive.
The landlord failed my hopes.
SHRA failed my hopes.
The contractor failed my hopes.
But this battle wasnt over....nor is it now. The battle of unfair government practices, of negligent landlords, of misguided and wrong doings of city code inspectors, and hopes that a situation that involved the deterioration of my famies health and well being would alway be top priority.
I was so wrong.
Nobody cared. Nobody did anything when i spoke. And certainly nobody intervened when my children and i were illegally evicted with no where to go.
I will conserve my words for now just in case this story has lost its readers or has gotten lost among so many other unfortunate tenant experiences.
There is a part 2, and if there is only one person who might grab strength from my will to fight, i will certainly write the rest.
No matter what, dont give up.
For you. For your familes. For your neighborhoods, and for your rights.