Residents of Harris County senior living complex frustrated with mold issues

Courtney Carpenter Image
Wednesday, May 8, 2024
Senior living center residents frustrated with lengthy mold situation
Sierra Meadows residents are looking for answers after years of mold-infested units. Some have been living in a hotel for months awaiting repairs.

HUMBLE, Texas (KTRK) -- In Humble, some residents of a Harris County Housing Authority senior living property say they have been out of their apartments for more than six months now because of serious mold issues.

Residents ABC13 spoke with are eager to be back in their apartments and also want the repairs to be done correctly, as they believe the shoddy work done in the past is why they are in this situation now.

"It was beautiful when we first moved here. I mean, the grounds were beautiful. The trees were beautiful," Vicki Shubin, who has lived at Sierra Meadows for about 10 years, said.

Still, on Tuesday, the Sierra Meadows apartments off the Beltway in Humble don't look bad on the outside - it's what's on the inside that's causing problems.

"She said, 'You've got to get out now. Not next week. Today,'" Sierra Meadows resident Ava Washington said.

That's what Washington says a mold inspector told her last fall. This is after she says she had been telling management something smelled bad in her apartment for more than a year.

"By September of last year, it got bad. I was sitting right here in the living room, and I said, 'What is going on?' I opened up that utility, and it reeked," Washington explained.

Inspectors were sent out, and she said mold was found on the walls and flooring of her apartment. For six months now, she's been living at the nearby Staybridge Suites with several other Sierra Meadows residents who are also dealing with mold problems.

So where did it come from?

Vicki Shubin says that during 2021's winter storm, sprinkler pipes in her apartment burst, filling it with two to three feet of water. She believes several apartments under hers, including Washington's, were never remediated correctly.

"We would just like our apartments safe to live in, and I don't feel that they are right now," Shubin said.

She moved back into her apartment. However, she is concerned it wasn't fixed properly based on results from a mold test that was done this past fall.

ABC13 looked at that report, which stated mold remediation was needed in the HVAC closet, guest bathroom, primary bedroom, and in the HVAC system and supply components.

The Harris County Housing Authority declined Eyewitness News' request for an on-camera interview and instead answered our questions via email.

Your tax dollars help pay for this complex, so ABC13 wanted to know their plan for finally getting this fixed.

The HCHA said they expect all renovation projects to be complete by May 15. They started the work last fall, nearly two years after residents say they first started complaining.

The housing authority says they are working on a mold mitigation plan to address the other 70-plus apartments.

Locally headquartered, Allied Orion Group manages the property on behalf of the housing authority. They sent the following statement:

"AOG Living is contracted to provide Multi-family Property Management Services for Sierra Meadows. Upon discovering there were issues in several units that needed to be addressed, we vacated the units to address the needs of the apartment homes. We facilitated placing the residents in those units into an adjacent hotel to ensure the least amount of disruption and inconvenience to their lives.

Unfortunately, the timeline for completion of the work needed was extended beyond anything we could have predicted.

AOG living is committed to providing all our residents at all our properties around Houston and the nation with quality living experiences. We apologize to the residents and are doing everything we can to expedite the process to get them back into their homes as soon as possible."

"I need them to take ownership. Fix it and fix it quickly and rightly," Washington said.

For Washington and the others, their ask is simple. They want Sierra Meadows to be a safe place to live.

"You're going to let us breathe this in, shortening whatever bit of life we have, and it's not going to be comfortable," Washington said.

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