Family says its second MHU is moldy, too
DENHAM SPRINGS - A family in Livingston Parish says they've lived in two moldy manufactured housing units since the August 2016 flood. They're concerned about their health and tax dollars going to waste.
Annette White tells 2 On Your Side she'd rather live in her unfinished home than breathe in moldy air.
"My six year old had been having a cough," said White. "In March, we started having upper respiratory problems."
Around that time, a contractor visited her Denham Springs property to swab for mold. Paperwork obtained by WBRZ shows the swabs were tested by EHS Laboratories and all three samples taken from air ducts came back with "unusual mold conditions."
After these findings, White says FEMA offered her another manufactured housing unit.
"FEMA came in and said there's nothing wrong with the trailer but we're going to give you a new one just to ease your mind," said White.
The second trailer was dropped off in April. Not long after, White says she found mold coming from the ceiling vent. Maintenance was called out and wiped it up, but it returned.
Her family was once again experiencing upper respiratory problems. White says she called maintenance and a contractor removed the ceiling of the bathroom where mold was spotted.
"He grabbed the insulation from underneath and handed it to me and it was wet," said White.
The insulation was turning a dark brown color and had so much moisture it appeared to be raining. White says mold was growing on the drywall and she fears the moisture and mold were running throughout the length of the MHU. The investigation did not include square footage outside of the bathroom ceiling and White says inspecting the ceiling of the entire unit was not an option.
Thursday, 2 On Your Side asked FEMA about this mold found in units. It says zero MHU's have tested positive for unusual mold conditions and zero MHU's have been removed from properties for that reason, but three MHU's have been replaced because of unusual mold conditions.
In June, 2 On Your Side visited a woman's moldy manufactured housing unit. Her unit was replaced.
White says she's been given two options. Have the bathroom ceiling repaired or move out of the MHU. Fearing a band-aid would be slapped over a mold issue, White has chosen to move out.
"My health is worth more than having a trailer," she said.
Over the course of this disaster, FEMA has provided more than 4,600 manufactured housing units to households repairing from the August 2016 flood. FEMA says 2008 households have moved out of their MHUs with only 2625 households remaining in units.
FEMA says while the percentage of units replaced with another is small, it does not know if there have been occasions when occupants while cleaning their unit, cleaned away any growth before it became an issue. Citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it says "Molds are found in virtually every environment and can be detected, both indoors and outdoors, year round."
If MHU occupants have concerns with their unit; contact their caseworker or maintenance hotline (800-335-8546).