A Scarborough woman and her two children tried for more than three months to get Toronto Community Housing (TCH) to repair their flood-damaged, bug-infested apartment.
But it took a call to CBC News and an impromptu visit from Toronto Mayor Rob Ford for the family to get the help they sought. On Wednesday, the mother learned that she and her children were being moved to an empty apartment on the same floor.
The case raises questions about the lengths TCH residents must go to in order get their concerns addressed.
- Related: Gene Jones out as TCH chief executive
- Related: Community Housing CEO denies properties are unsafe
The single mother, who asked not to be identified for safety reasons, told the CBC’s Charlsie Agro that a flood in March destroyed most of the family’s furniture and much of the apartment's flooring.
In addition, maggots had invaded the unit in the weeks since the flood.
But despite the woman’s repeated calls for Toronto Community Housing to fix the problems, she said her pleas went unaddressed for months.
She said she worried about the effect that living in such unsanitary conditions would have on her health.
“I told them a couple of times, that, ‘If I die, then who will care for my children?’”
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford inspected the apartment, located in the area of McCowan Road and Eglinton Avenue East, on Wednesday. He arrived at the building after the CBC News requested comment from his office about the issue, but he said the visit had been planned for weeks.
“We have to move these people out immediately,” Ford said while touring the unit with a CBC crew. “This needs a complete overhaul.”
The mayor called the conditions "inhumane."
Later, the woman’s brother, Ahmad Ali, said the building’s management offered on Wednesday to move her and her children to an empty unit on the same floor.
But he said "it's amazing" that took a call to the media and a visit from the mayor for TCH to fix the problem.
The housing authority acknowledged that it should have responded earlier to mother’s complaints and said it has started repairs on the damaged unit.
TCH spokeswoman Sara Goldvine said "we're glad that this issue has been brought to our attention" and added the organization is working to address "a gap in our system."