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WHAT’S NEXT?: Housing authority is plagued by mold complaints from residents and has lost its leaders. What can be done to fix the mess?

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 6:09 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Mold issues in the Wilmington Housing Authority (WHA) dating back to Hurricane Florence in 2018 were ignored for years. Now, nearly 80 families — hundreds of residents — have been displaced, and the authority is in a tailspin.

Costs just to house those families, stuck in hotel rooms around the city for months and months, are soaring. Meanwhile, the authority has barely even started the remediation work — and that’s just for the units they know about.

It’s unclear how widespread the mold problem really is, but it’s likely worse than WHA is currently willing to admit.

On top of that, WHA’s administration was gutted by restructuring and resignations, including that of former CEO Katrina Redmon over the summer. Months later, those key leadership positions are still empty.

Editor’s note: The following articles are written by WECT News Partner WHQR as part of its investigation into the Wilmington Housing Authority.

By late October, PODS storage units and dumpsters were visible everywhere in the Creekwood...
By late October, PODS storage units and dumpsters were visible everywhere in the Creekwood neighborhood -- evidence of a growing mold problem(Ben Schachtman | WHQR)
After Erieka Lamberth's death, her family opened her PODS storage unit to find it had been...
After Erieka Lamberth's death, her family opened her PODS storage unit to find it had been infested with mold.(WECT)
WHA administrators sit in on the Resident Advisory Board Meeting, Nov. 10. Seated left to...
WHA administrators sit in on the Resident Advisory Board Meeting, Nov. 10. Seated left to right: Al Sharp, WHA Board Chair, Interim Director Vernice Hamilton, Communications Coordinator Julia Shaw.(Ben Schachtman | WHQR)
Clockwise from top left: Sonya Muldrow in her garden; Erieka Lamberth's daughter Alexis Gower...
Clockwise from top left: Sonya Muldrow in her garden; Erieka Lamberth's daughter Alexis Gower (top) and sister Kimberly (bottom); many families are living behind hotel doors.(Ben Schactman | WHQR)
Creekwood is one of the newest housing developments WHA owns- having been built in the 1970s
Creekwood is one of the newest housing developments WHA owns- having been built in the 1970s(Wilmington Housing Authority)

Regardless of which path WHA takes, it will be a long while before displaced residents are back in their homes, and residents living with untested mold infestations are able to get the remediation they need. Years of neglect guaranteed that.

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