WILLIAMSON- Throughout the fall, one resident of Goodman Manor has contacted city, county, and state officials in an effort to resolve what he believes are potential health risks at the apartment complex.
Kenny Evans, a resident at Goodman Manor, feels that there are issues at Goodman Manor that could potentially pose health risks for the residents including mold and inoperable heating and air conditioning units in hallways as well as asbestos in tiles that had been covered with carpeting. Evans has voiced these concerns to various organizations.
At the last meeting of the Williamson City Council, Evans approached the council during public comment. At the meeting Evans stated, “I live at Goodman Manor. I have pictures and a letter from the health department stating we have mold in our building. Our air conditioners have not worked for about three and a half years and our roof has been leaking for about four years now. We just cannot seem to get any help… We are being told that we don’t need air conditioning in the hallways. It has been over 120 degrees during the summer in the hallways and that is where we are getting the mold from. They are supposed to be furnishing us a safe, healthy environment. We have been told if we don’t disturb it, it won’t bother us. When we talk to administrators, we are told to go to this one and then to that one and then we are back at square one.”
Prior to the October 27 meeting of the Williamson City Council, Evans had sought to resolve the issue by contacting the Mingo County Health Department. At the council meeting, Evans presented the council with correspondence he had received from Brett Vance, Sanitarian at the Mingo County Health Department dated September 28, 2016.
The letter Evans presented to council stated, “As you know, the Mingo County Health Department investigated a complaint concerning mold at the Goodman Manor in Williamson W.Va. I found mold in several doorways on the ninth floor, but could not find conclusive evidence of a leak in the roof. I noted at the time of my inspection, that several of the hallway heating and cooling units were inoperable or failed to keep the hallways cool. The high humidity in the hallways could be a contributing factor in the growth of mold along the doorways. I meet with management at Goodman Manor on Monday, September 26, 2016 and outlined my concerns on the growth of mold in the building.”
Evans also sent correspondence to U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) to voice his concerns. In response to the correspondence, Jenkins’ office had contacted the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Jenkins’ office provided a copy of HUD’s response to Evans. Jenkin’s office provided a response to Evans dated November 1, 2016.
The letter sent to Representative Jenkins from HUD Director Julie Alston dated October 26, 2016 stated, “An investigation into Mr. Evans complaint concluded that a tenant complained to the Mingo County Health Department (MCHD) about possible mold in the doorways. The MCHD performed a visual inspection and reported to the Williamson Housing Authority (MHA) that there appeared to be mold on the door frames. Shortly afterwards, WHA inspected the doorways and found an accumulation of grease and grime and subsequently scheduled cleaning of doors and door jambs on every floor.”
The letter continued stating, “The individual heating and air conditioning units located on each floor in the common areas are several years old and unfortunately, some do not work; however, the inoperable units do not affect the individual apartments. The WHA has plans to replace all air conditioning units within the next few years.”
The letter concluded stating, “In the process of replacing the carpet in the hallways of Goodman Manor, WHA determined that it was glued to the underlying tiles. WHA had the tiles tested for asbestos due to its age and it tested positive. The WHA contracted with a W.Va. licensed asbestos removal company to remove the tiles and conduct air quality tests on a daily basis to ensure the safety of the residents.”
Williamson Mayor Robert Carlton explained that after the council meeting he had contacted the WHA and felt confident that current issues were being addressed. “After the Williamson City Council meeting I had an opportunity to speak with a member of the board at Williamson Housing Authority and was assured that the issue of the alleged mold was being addressed by the Williamson Housing Authority board of directors and it’s executive director, Pauline Sturgill. I understand we have not received any other complaints about mold from any other individuals and that federal and state guidelines are being followed in reference to this assertion of mold in the building,” Carlton said.
The next meeting of the Williamson City Council will be held Thursday, November 10, at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at Williamson City Hall.
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)