Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly named the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority.
NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Courtney Burwell and her family were surrounded by mold, gnats, and water leaking from a damaged bathtub. She says she’s been telling maintenance at Young Terrace about the problems for the past 12 months.
10 On Your Side got involved Tuesday, and within hours, work had begun.
We first saw Burwell’s kitchen cabinets Tuesday morning, heavily covered with mold. We revisited her apartment Wednesday morning and saw evidence of progress. Workers had begun ripping out the moldy cabinets Tuesday afternoon after we contacted the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority.
Burwell is recovering from a gunshot wound to the mouth, after she was caught in crossfire Christmas Eve near a convenience store about three blocks away. So we talked with her mother, Melessia Scott.
“I don’t think it should have taken this long for [repairs] to happen. We had to call you guys, 10 On Your Side, to get somebody out here,” Scott said.
Burwell and her five children are staying with her mother for the time being. Scott says her daughter and grandkids would remain at risk until all the mold is gone.
“This is a respiratory problem. I’m in here with two masks on,” Scott said.
Water was running down from plumbing near the damaged bathtub directly upstairs. Workers also replaced some pipe, and an NRHA statement Wednesday afternoon stated that “the mold-like substance was caused by the leaking pipe, which has been repaired and should not occur again”.
Burwell won’t let her kids take baths because she says it’s too dangerous in the damaged bathtub. It’s slated for reglazing Friday which the NRHA believes will be sufficient.
Another area of progress: the refrigerator. Tuesday, Scott showed 10 On Your Side the refrigerator that was not running, with gnats flying out once the door was opened. By Wednesday it was replaced with a new refrigerator.
Scott was pleased.
“[NRHA] did replace it with a new refrigerator which is working. This is a brand new refrigerator, and I credit [them] for that.”
The housing authority told us staff shortages, problems with parts deliveries and scheduling outside contractors have caused the delay. They say they were notified about the maintenance concerns in late November — but Burwell told us she’s been calling them repeatedly since early last year.
“It really is a shame that I had to go this far to call 10 On Your Side,” Scott said.
Scott says she’ll take the housing authority to court if the conditions in her daughter’s unit aren’t corrected. The NHRA says all repairs will be completed by Jan. 7.