Illness Relieved with Healthy Home Intervention

Salt Lake, UT

Challenge
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.

When she called her insurance agent, he said that they wouldn’t cover a problem of this magnitude, only to remove damaged materials—debris that filled three dumpsters. She called a restoration company to see if there was any way she could save her home and they referred her to GHHI Salt Lake.

Solution
A founding member and partner of GHHI Salt Lake, Salt Lake Valley Habitat for Humanity (SLV Habitat) conducted a comprehensive assessment of the home. In addition to the termite and mold issues, the assessors found loose wires, air duct insufficiencies and the absence of fire alarms. SLV Habitat removed the black mold, installed rain gutters, new window wells and smoke alarms. They also reinsulated the basement and repaired the flooring, air ducts and electoral hazards. A pest control company was called to remediate the termite infestation. To further ensure a swift recovery to health, they installed an air filtration system that Crystal enthusiastically calls “a God-send.”

Impact
Since the repair, Crystal’s children have only missed three days of school. They have not needed to see a doctor. Crystal has given away their breathing machines because they don’t use them anymore.

“It brings tears of joy to my eyes,” Crystal said. “It has made such a difference. This program has changed the quality of our lives. Green & Healthy Homes Initiative is our miracle!”