‘We don’t matter’: Residents disclose living conditions at Gadsden Green
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Rats, black mold and leaking ceilings are just some of the problems some families living in the Gadsden Green neighborhood said they are facing every day.
For some background, Gadsden Green is a property of the Charleston Housing Authority. The Charleston Housing Authority is an independent nonprofit that seeks to provide housing to citizens on low to moderate incomes.
Gadsden Green resident Brittany Muckelvaney said their living conditions are unsafe and unacceptable.
She said three of her daughters have asthma and are constantly sick because of conditions like mold, dirty air filters and a leaking roof. Muckelvaney said they’re also dealing with electrical problems, holes in the air ducts, rats and rat feces.
“If you could see the fecal matter I have to sweep up on the daily. I have children with asthma, there are rats coming in and out,” Muckelvaney said.
Another resident, Vanessa Brown, said their living conditions have been horrendous, catching over 30 rats in just over two years.
“Just because we live in public housing doesn’t mean we are uneducated, it doesn’t mean we are ignorant,” Brown said.
Brown’s daughter, Ericka Perez, said this is their first experience in public housing, and it’s worse than they thought it would be.
“We don’t matter, not to them,” Perez said. “We’re not living here because we’re dirty, or lazy, or uneducated, we live here because we have children. And the income that we have is not enough sometimes.”
The President and CEO of the Charleston Housing Authority, Arthur Milligan, said they’re aware some of the units need to be worked on.
He said they are in the process of implementing the Rental Assistance Demonstration program that will allow them to go in and do some major work in the next two to four years.
“It goes along with the fact that the building is 83 years old and has not had any major rehab in that period of time,” Milligan said. “We understand the residents here are having some hard times and we continue to try to make sure they’re being taken care of.”
In the meantime, he said he recommends residents let their property managers know about problems they are having, and if no progress is made, he suggests they continue to complain up the food chain.
“If the units are in bad shape they have to let us know, and we are going to be doing more inspections than we have been doing in the past,” Milligan said.
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