As a part of The Landscape data collection process, the Foundation also compiled a number of stories from community members who have been impacted by the focus areas. This is one of the stories that represent the lived experiences of people who reside in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area.
Candy was a single mom, worried about her kids who were suffering from headaches, dizziness, and nosebleeds. She soon found out their apartment was the problem: it had toxic levels of lead and black mold.
Candy Hicks has four children living with her and has struggled to find affordable and safe housing for her family. Living on a fixed income means that every month she has to make difficult decisions about food, clothing, transportation, diapers, and rent. After moving around from one poorly maintained apartment to the next, Candy was happy to have found a place where she settled her family for five years.
Unfortunately, things were not as good as they seemed. When her children began complaining of dizziness and headaches, Candy took them to the doctor. The doctor told her to have the lead levels checked. Soon Candy learned that unbeknownst to her, the apartment where they’d been living for the past five years had toxic levels of lead and black mold.
Several years later, even after leaving the unsafe apartment, Candy reports that her daughters still get headaches and nosebleeds. She was thankfully able to find a new apartment with a good landlord, who would waive the deposit so she could move in. However, this year the apartment complex was sold to a man that Candy calls a slumlord. A familiar experience that she’s dealt with before, she’s worried that their housing will again become a danger to herself and her children.
You can learn more about Candy’s story by watching the locally produced documentary, Out of Frame.