Volunteers help clean mold from residents' homes in Fifth Ward

By Brandon Walker - Reporter

HOUSTON - Volunteers spent Sunday evening delivering food and cleaning supplies to residents of Houston's historic Fifth Ward who, like many, have begun the process of cleaning up after Hurricane Harvey.

"This is a forgotten community, basically," said Geetha Ravula from Ashirwad A Blessing, a temple and community organization within Houston's Indian community.

Flooding from Harvey did not devastate Fifth Ward as badly as other parts of town -- still, piles of soggy sheetrock and debris litter streets. Some residents live in homes that flooded and now have mold concerns.

"It was all over the house. The bathroom, children's room, kitchen. The whole house," said Alberta Johnson as she gave KPRC2 a tour of her home on Noble Street. "The mold was in the closet."

Johnson praised the work of volunteers who helped scrub mold from her wall but says the mold remains a concern.

Geetha Ravula and others from organizations within Houston's Indian community have spent the week working to spread the call for help for people like Johnson.

"I think it's not safe for them to stay here," Ravula said.

Ravula hopes to get temporary housing for those who need it and until mold is properly removed.

"It's not safe to be here; we gave them cleaning supplies but they need to move out to a different place because they're breathing this unhealthy air, which is not good for them," Ravula said.

In the meantime, help trickled into the neighborhood. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents Texas' 18th Congressional District, visited the area Saturday and offered to take residents to shelters, if need be.

As for volunteer work, residents like Johnson welcome the help they have received.

She said the road to recovery, like many, has just begun.

"Everybody needs to get together and be a family. Try to help each other like they're doing now," Johnson said.

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