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Sask. mother claims ministry ignoring requests to remove black mold from social services home

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A Saskatoon mother says the Ministry of Social Services ignored several requests to have black mold removed from her provincial housing corporation home.

Shannon Kay and her seven children were displaced following a house fire in December 2020 just days before Christmas. 

Eventually, the family was moved into a Saskatchewan Housing Corporation home called Sturby Place.

The family quickly realized the building had several issues.

“[The sewer] backs up three times a year,” Kay said while attending Thursday’s legislative assembly.

The most recent back-up was in September 2023.

(Photo courtesy: Shannon Kay) In the aftermath of the 2020 fire, the family received several donations.

The flooding from the back-ups destroyed that, too.

Now black mold is taking hold of her home and she said it is impacting her family’s health.

“My youngest is getting severe allergic reactions due to the mold,” Kay said. “[He] has constant red eyes and is getting rashes on himself.”

(Photo courtesy: Shannon Kay) Doctors’ notes supplied by Kay to the NDP say the apartment needs to be fumigated.

The mother claimed she has reached out to the local housing authority and the Ministry of Social Services to have the mold removed correctly.

However, Kay said a permanent solution was not offered.

“No child should have to live in the conditions my son has had to live in,” she said.

According to Saskatchewan Housing Corporation open data, the province reduced its contribution to housing from $63,499 in 2011 to just $3,712 in 2021.

The contributions did increase again to $18,017 in 2022.

“These are long-standing issues in vacant units as well as units currently being used for housing people,” said NDP social services critic Meara Conway.

Minister of Social Service Gene Makowsky said a fix to the apartment was in the works.

“Several things were being worked on in that unit,” he told reporters Thursday. “Including the willingness, and the attempt, to fix the drywall mold situation.”

Kay said she does not want to remain in the unit if the mold is not removed for good.

Makowsky added if repairs were not feasible, the ministry could find the family a new house. But available units, particularly for families, “are limited.”

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