BURLINGTON, N.C. – A North Carolina mother was stunned to see the aggressive fungus punching through the floor of her apartment.
"I literally have mushrooms growing on my second floor," Tawana Crawford told WGHP. "Out of the floor. No soil for them to grow on or anything. They're just growing through the tile."
For the past several months, mushrooms and mold have been some of Crawford's unwanted roommates in her four-bedroom, subsidized apartment in Burlington. Crawford says an unfinished maintenance job also left a gaping hole in her ceiling.
"When you have issues like mushrooms, and your ceiling is missing, you know, it goes to the point of (asking) 'when do you care about my safety, my kids' safety or anything like that?'" she said.
Crawford has three young kids living in the home. She recently took one to the doctor only to find her son has respiratory issues from mold exposure.
She believes her upstairs tub drain may be to blame. She has put in maintenance requests over the past year, with workers coming every now and then to try and fix it. The most recent fix happened in May, when plumbers opened a hole in her kitchen ceiling to address the pipes causing a leak. The hole was never patched up.
Crawford had several maintenance forms from Beaumont Apartments with incomplete information. She says only two men work maintenance for the entire complex, which has roughly 100 units. She says they're great people, but are overworked.
On Wednesday, Crawford called Burlington Code Enforcement, who did a minimum housing inspection and deemed the home did not reach those standards. Mold is actually not included in those standards under city ordinance, but things that cause mold, like water damage or leaks, are.
The apartments are privately owned by a company called PK Management based in the Cleveland area. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, subsidizes a majority of the units in the complex. No one was in the manager's office throughout the day Tuesday and Wednesday when WGHP asked for comment.
Crawford says management has turned over several times in the four years she has been living at the complex and points that out as a factor causing work orders to slip through the cracks.
"We're placed here. This is subsidized housing. This is all that some people can afford," Crawford said. "So just to tell them that they don't matter and their way of living doesn't matter means a lot because technically that's what you're saying if you're not getting out here and fixing the issues at all."
A representative from PK Management told WGHP they have since been in touch with Crawford, after requests for information about the situation, and sent crews to address the problem. Within minutes, Crawford says the hole in her ceiling had been patched up and they are sending contractors tomorrow to deal with the root issues.
"I feel better," Crawford said. "I feel like now something is actually starting to happen."