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NY1 For You: Harlem Senior Battles Lung Disease, Cancer And Black Mold

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Life for a sick East Harlem senior has been challenging living with black mold. The senior hopes to get into senior housing, but right now she's just trying to get management to clean up mold and peeling paint in her apartment. Susan Jhun filed the following NY1 For You report.

Breathing is difficult for 80-year-old Frances Watkins, who suffers from lung disease and recently spent three months in the hospital battling cancer and severe respiratory failure. So when the public housing tenant returned to her apartment to find black mold covering her bathroom vent, she was at a loss.

“It's horrible. I'm very miserable here,” she said.

The senior citizen says she's complained to building management, but nothing has been done.

“She contacted us and said, ‘Listen I can't live here anymore my doctor says it's killing me.’ So I came to take a look and I was astonished,” said Al Peterson of the Concerned Citizens of East Harlem.

Not only by the black mold, but also by the peeling paint which Watkins says has been on her walls for decades now and she worries it may contain lead.

Watkins says in her current condition more than anything she wants to be moved to senior housing.

“It's imperative that the Housing Authority, as we've asked, please move this woman into a senior citizens development,” said Peterson.

After NY1 contacted The New York City Housing Authority and they looked into Watkins' case, a spokeswoman claimed they never received an official complaint from the tenant and went on to say they contacted Watkins and are now working with her to address the mold and paint issues.

As far as moving her to senior housing, the spokeswoman said they are reviewing the matter.

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