Mom ‘scares’ four-year-old son who will die trying to breathe in his ‘mouldy’ home
A four-year-old boy is having difficulty breathing and is riddled with ulcers due to the “mouldy and damp” conditions in his home. Blood tests have confirmed that asthmatic Kayden from Milton Keynes is suffering from allergic reactions to black mold. His mom Demi says she watches over him as he sleeps, “afraid” he might die.
Single mother Demi Rock said his asthma has worsened due to the black mold that covers his family apartment, and his body is also covered in painful eczema, which doctors say is caused by poor living conditions.
Despite begging the council to move her out of the Grand Union Housing Association apartment, Demi, 30, has had no luck so far.
She said, “I am desperate and don’t know what to do. I’m afraid he will die. There was already a small child who died due to living in damp and moldy conditions. What if my son is next?”
It comes after the story of two-year-old Avaab Ishak, who was killed in 2020 by mold that permeated his social housing apartment, causing respiratory failure.
Following an investigation into Avaab’s death last November, Housing Secretary Michael Gove stressed the need to ensure that every landlord provides tenants with decent housing.
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But Demi, who lives with the chronic pain syndrome fibromyalgia, says she’s been battling a mold problem in her two-bedroom apartment she shares with her nine-year-old daughter and Kaidan since 2019.
She’s lost count of the times Kaidan, who also has autism and doesn’t speak, has been admitted to the hospital with difficulty breathing.
Symptoms of his allergic reactions to mold include itchy skin, puffy eyes, and irritability that disrupts his sleep.
Demi, a housewife, said: “About once a month I have to take him to the hospital because he is struggling to breathe. You wouldn’t give a person with a peanut allergy a peanut butter sandwich like this? is it acceptable to leave him in this house?”
She claims that Grand Union says “there is no mold” when they come to inspect the apartment.
“That’s because I spent hours constantly scrubbing it off,” she said. “I can’t risk Kaidan inhaling it.”
She has a 12-litre dehumidifier that she says fills up hourly and puts three dehumidifier pots in each room, enough for six weeks, but she says she fills up in nine days.
She cleans the walls with bleach and black mold remover, runs the exhaust fan all the time, ventilates the room daily, and keeps the heat on as much as possible, even though her two radiators are currently out of service.
“Our mattresses are wet, my furniture is moldy,” she said. — I wash the children’s clothes and put them away, all clean and dried. Then, when I take them out to put them on, they are awful and damp. “
Because of the mold in the 11-year-old house, she had to change the children’s beds four times in four years. She changed her bed twice, had two sofas and three different dining tables after they all got moldy.
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She said: “I don’t know when the next asthma attack will happen and how severe it will be. They completely failed my son by leaving him here.
“If he dies, it will be my child. You can replace drywall and radiators, but you can’t replace my son.”
Demi has requested to be moved to public housing, but nothing has been available so far.
The house has since had a ventilation system installed, according to Grand Union, but Demi said that was not the case.
Grand Union released a lengthy statement saying: “Our technical team visited Mrs. Rock every time she reported a recurrence of dampness in her home, and we installed additional ventilation on the advice of a specialized ventilation company and made recommendations on how to deal with moisture.”
He continued: “During our last check in January, we found additional moisture from a leak from one of her toilets; it has been fixed, but it needs to be dried.
“We want to be open and transparent about the decisions we make, and especially about the condition of her home, and so we are currently working with her lawyer to arrange for an independent examination of her home.
“We will act on the findings of this and will continue to do everything in our power to provide her with a safe, secure and well maintained home and to support her in the move she so desperately wants.”
A spokesman for the council added: “The council is ready to intervene and help tenants of housing associations in such situations, but first they must file a complaint through the housing ombudsman. After that, we can take the necessary actions if the issue is still not resolved.
“We are working on the request for public housing separately and will allocate suitable properties as soon as they become available.”
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