RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Commonwealth Catholic Charities has been housing people experiencing homelessness at a southside Richmond hotel. Several people living at the hotel report mold, a broken elevator, security concerns and unanswered maintenance requests.
After the non-profit providing temporary housing at the Days Inn on Midlothian Turnpike acknowledged a homeless mother’s belongings were “disposed of” during an emergency Caesarean section birth at the hospital, more people under the hotel’s roof shared disappointment.
“Look at the mold in the bathroom, just look at the mold. Who got to live like this? Why should we have to live like this in this moldy room,” Mildred Barnes said in a video shared with 8News of her room’s conditions.
Barnes said she is worried about her daughter’s asthma around the mold, seen on the bathroom wall, the front door and on curtains draped above an air conditioning unit.
“When she [Barnes’ daughter] goes back and see this pulmonary doctor, I don’t know what’s happening with her lungs. Her lungs could be messed up,” she said.
Barnes is among 200 people without a home living at the hotel; a figure a program coordinator with CCC acknowledged last week.
The reported lack of maintenance frustrates others like Harley James Brooks, who says, “They [CCC] give us enough change to wash and dry one load of clothes here a week, but the dryer doesn’t work.” he said.
Donna Sisson, who admitted to have spent at least one previous stint at the hotel, said during one recent night, “somebody came up to my door and pounded on it so damn hard, I thought they was gonna break it down.“
Sisson added that an entrance and exit door near her room was broken down several months ago, giving easy access to front door; “which broke for two and a half months,” she said.
After CCC refused to comment last week on specific case information regarding the homeless mother’s claims, 8News reporter Ben Dennis visited their Henrico office Tuesday looking for answers.
After waiting in the lobby for 20 minutes, Commonwealth Catholic Charities Vice President of Administration Lori James declined to comment, saying “it’s against our company policy for anybody outside of marketing or our CEO to speak to the media.”
James said the charity’s CEO Jason Brown was out sick Tuesday and unable to field questions in-person.
As of Tuesday evening 8News has not received a response from their marketing coordinator.
While the program may temporarily provide housing, people living at the Days Inn believe their concerns should be addressed in a timely manner.
“Don’t treat us like we are just some homeless people on the street, we are still people and we’ve got children too,” Barnes said.
Following 8News’ interview with Ms. Barnes, she detailed she was moved to a new room on Sunday. However, it is unclear if the mold has been addressed, and how widespread it may be.
8News awaits response from city codes enforcement on inspection reports.