A mother searching for help on 01/07/2011
I am a single mother of the three boys. Pryor to coming to Philadelphia we were living we stayed in New York and we were exposed to bedbugs while staying at a shelter in Flatbush. My boys were traumatized I came here to gain family support. My family wasn’t capable to help my boys and me. Once I evicted my children and I became homeless. My neighbor offered my children and me a place to stay. However, my youngest son has been diagnoses with having ODD and being bi-polar. I am in need of wrap
around services for him. The place where I was staying was only temporary. I couldn’t have that service for my son there. DHS was called because I didn’t have sufficient housing for my kids and an investigation was opened. I was told the only way I could avoid DHS taking my kids I had to go into a shelter. I went down to the City Of Philadelphia Office Of Supportive Housing located at 1430 Cherry Street. My intake social worker was Mrs. Georgia Moore. She placed me at, The Trevor's Place located at 1624 W. Poplar Street. I made it clear to her our fear of bedbugs. Upon entering the shelter the staff were really nice and supportive. I was placed in room 205 a family room with 4 beds and two wood dressers. While I was getting everything put up and getting settled I noticed a bug crawling up the wall and then two on the dressers. I killed the bugs and realized it was bed bugs the size of a grain of rice. I placed the bugs on a sheet of paper took pictures of the bugs and took the paper down to the front office. The first thing the male and female staff asked was the bugs was dead. They then informed me that the room had just been fumigated. The male staff member asked if there was another room that they could placed me in, the female staff member informed him that the other room was worse then the room that I was placed in. The male staff member then contacted the Director of the shelter. He then went to room 205 to inspect the room. He saw bugs and searched for areas where they could be coming from. He gave me a bottle of green alcohol and a blow dryer. He told me that it would kill the bugs. He then contacted the Director again, and then he informed me that she said if I could find somewhere to stay for the night, that she would allow me to sleep there, and returning the morning. I then called a neighbor crying and upset and begged to stay there. I had to have the male staff member reassure my neighbor that it would only be for one night. When I went to show the staff the bedbugs on of the residence stated that the girl that was in the room before me complained of bedbugs as well. The resident then began to state that there has been a lot of complaints from different shelter's infested with bedbugs. The next morning I woke up and called the Trevor's place and asked them what was going to be done. They denied that they had any problems with bed bugs. I heard one of the staff members talking loudly in the background state that they weren't going to put up with this bedbug mess. She asked if I was coming back or not. They then informed me that the room would be sprayed down. I then called the City Of Philadelphia office of Supportive Housing and spoke with Mrs. Georgia Lee Moore. I informed her that they’re where bed bugs in the room I was placed. She told me that wasn't true. If it were true then the shelter would have reported the problem to them, and they would no longer place families there. I then stated to her that I have pictures to prove it and I wanted to know if I could be placed somewhere else. Mrs. Moore told me that if I left the shelter I wouldn't be able to be placed anywhere. I asked her,” who I could report this problem to” and she transferred me to her supervisor. Who told me she couldn't take complaints over the phone. I have no other type of support here in Philadelphia. I called to inform them that I had appointment to go to for my youngest son who has developmental disabilities. I called another time to ask if I could bring some spray in to the building to clean the room. The staff members were no longer nice about the situation. I am currently seeking a safe place for me and my three boys to sleep day by day. I went back to the shelter to pick up a folder I left there. One of the social workers asked me where did the bed bug come from she said she left at 8 pm. I told her they were in the room and I wasn't the one who saw them. She wished me luck as I left. My son was very upset and traumatized when he saw the bedbugs. I am currently seeking aid night by night to have a roof over my family’s head.