Mold confirmed in Jefferson City public housing

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JEFFERSON CITY - After a four month investigation, KOMU 8 has been able to verify mold was present in Jefferson City public housing.

In February, KOMU 8 News reported on concerned tenants in Jefferson City Public Housing Authority who were worried about their living conditions. 

The main concern focused around mold.  Tenants believed there was mold present in their units, while the housing authority maintained that it was only mildew.

KOMU 8 News investigated by getting samples independently lab tested by Dr. Jeanne Mihail at the University of Missouri who specializes in fungi.

Since the story aired, Mihail offered her expertise to Cynthia Quetsch, the new director of the Jefferson City Public Housing Authority. Quetch said they have been in contact and discussing the issues brought to her attention by KOMU's initial Target 8 report.

Final genetic analysis test results have also come in since the story aired. The mold had to be tested at the genetic level since it wasn't clearly identifiable. Mihail was looking for a specific strand of mold called stachybotrys, what most people commonly refer to as "black mold."

Even if it wasn't stachybotrys, people could still get ill from the mold collected in the apartments, she said.

"The fungi recovered could still elicit respiratory symptoms if there was a sufficient concentration of spores," she said.

Tenants are still frustrated. Since the story aired, KOMU 8 News has spoken to many who contributed to the initial story who have said things have not gotten any better.

"We have never met the director and we have never received a letter," Resident Angela Whitman said.

Quetsch has been in her position officially since February and said she has spent the majority of time familiarizing herself with the everyday operations of the 988 residences the Jefferson City Pubic Housing Authority oversees.

The main issue remains communication. Quetsch said she believes she should not have to approach tenants about problems, while Whitman believes it is Quetsch's job to be a visible member of their community.

 

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