Black mold making South Bend family sick finally addressed after two years of complaints

NOW: Black mold making South Bend family sick finally addressed after two years of complaints

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A doctor’s orders confirm mold in a South Bend woman's apartment has been making her daughter sick for months.

She's been asking for a solution for two years, but it took calls from ABC57 on Monday for the South Bend Housing Authority to take action. 

"When I first complained, it was in 2021," Erica Williams said. "We don’t bathe in that tub. I haven’t bathed in that tub in over two years. They take showers, and they get out."

She lives at Laurel Place Apartments, public housing owned and maintained by the South Bend Housing Authority.  

"They do not do their job," Williams said about the Housing Authority. "They do not upkeep on the maintenance."

"They came out one time, and the two guys that came out told me that I need to get in that tub and scrub it with bleach, and I had already done that."

Williams said she’s tried everything.

"I got in there with a paint scraper and I just scraped, scraped, scraped, scraped," Williams said. "Washed it. Bleach, bleach, bleach, it’s still not going anywhere. It’s gotten worse."

Closer look at the black mold in Erica Williams' apartment.

Her 10-year-old daughter Ehryimaya suffers from debilitating allergies, IBS, chronic asthma and eczema. 

"When they looked inside her nose, it’s severely red, inflamed and swollen," Williams said. "He said it’s the worst case he’s ever seen." 

All these problems get worse as she breathes in more mold spores. 

"It tears me up, because there’s lot of things she cannot participate in, because of these illnesses that she has, and because of the effect of this mold on my baby." 

Williams shared multiple doctor’s notes with ABC57 confirming the diagnoses.

One reads in part: 

"Poor housing environment has been shown to markedly worsen disease course in children like Ehryimaya and while mold is not Ehryimaya’s only asthma trigger, reduction in exposure to any significant asthma trigger can improve her quality of life and reduce her need for high doses of daily medication."

Before the interview, ABC57 called the Housing Authority for comment and what's being done about the situation. They told us they do annual inspections of every unit and send maintenance out whenever a complaint is made.

Our calls apparently prompted them to finally take action. 

"That angers me, and that makes me feel like 'oh, what, am I getting attention now?' Why do I have to go through all of this for you to respond, for you to do your job? Had you been proactive, and responded in a proper time, my daughter would not be as sick as she is, and we are sick as well," said Williams.

Now, we're told Williams will have brand new tub installed Tuesday morning. 

Maintenance crews who came out to Williams' apartment on Monday were also able to reinstall a smoke detector and fix her handrail. 

The hope is it won’t take media calls for problems to be fixed but for now, Williams and her family should be able to breathe a little easier.

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