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Yolanda is a single mother with two children ages 5 and 13, working a full time job in the medical field. She signed up for as many extra hours as possible to make ends meet and ensure bills were paid. Her family lives in a modest, two-bedroom single family home built in 1926, which was in major disrepair. Yolanda could simply not afford to complete any of the much needed repairs or address the chipping, peeling paint many lead hazards identified. Their utility bills were above average because of uninsulated exterior walls, drafty wooden sash windows, broken window panes and a leaky roof. The drafts combined with a rusty, leaky, gas supplied water heater made it impossible to maintain a comfortable temperature. The heater also had no vent pipe to the exterior, presenting a major carbon monoxide hazard.
Salt Lake, UT
Crystal and TJ purchased a home in their dream neighborhood with their two young sons. After living in the home for a year, they noticed a crack in the sewage line going into the concrete. Sewage was leaking into their basement, which was already prone to flooding. After the latest clean-up, she discovered black mold and termites in the walls. She soon noticed she had the same issue upstairs in her master bathroom. The family’s health steadily declined in their new home. She and her sons were using inhalers and a breathing machine and taking steroids, antifungal and anti-nausea medicine to combat respiratory problems. The children were missing school, and her two-year old was suffering from pneumonia. They were buried by all their medical and home repair bills, and Crystal was at the end of a much frayed rope.
Melissa saved for years to purchase her modest row home in North Philadelphia, three and a half years ago. A single mom, Melissa worked hard to maintain her home and care for her children, including a teen daughter with severe asthma. Several months ago, things started to fall apart. A faulty pipe in the basement leaked so heavily that Melissa had to shut off the water leading to the kitchen sink; her family washed dishes in a bucket filled in her second floor bathtub. The leak caused mold and damage to the walls in the basement, allowing pests to infest her home. Meanwhile, a pipe in the bathroom leaked and caused mold and moisture to build up inside the wall next to her daughter’s bedroom. Draughty windows and poor insulation caused Melissa’s utility bills to climb.
William and Danielle have owned their 1920 single family home in Baltimore’s Winston-Govans neighborhood for nine years. They needed to repair the home for the safety of their three children, 16-year-old Ciera, 12-year-old Simone and 10-year-old Akil, but the cost was overwhelming. Several windows were painted shut, mice left droppings in the kitchen and poor insulation made it hard to keep the home warm in the winter. These issues contributed to Akil’s health—he was regularly hospitalized for severe asthma episodes, going to the hospital three times a year for a week at a time, since his birth. Danielle reached out for help online and found the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI).
Lekquan and her 8-year-old son DaWayne lived in a house that was moldy, poorly insulated and did not have a working furnace. Water had leaked into her kitchen floor. The carpet was full of allergens and pulling away from the floorboards. Despite Lekquan’s best efforts, rodents and roaches always found a way back into her home. DaWayne suffered from asthma—a chronic disease exacerbated by her home’s mold, pests and aging carpet. In a single year, Lekquan had rushed her son to the hospital eight times to manage severe asthma attacks and he had spent the equivalent of three full weeks in the hospital.
For more information about the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative or to arrange an interview with our President & CEO Ruth Ann Norton, members of the media should contact Senior Communications Associate Kaletha Henry: