Lansing family with mold-related health problems needs short-term housing

By City Pulse

A Lansing family of three needs a place to live for three weeks after being forced to leave its apartment because of health problems related to mold exposure.

Julia Becker said that her two grown daughters and the son of one of her daughters all suffer from a severe reaction to stachybotys, or black mold. She said they have vacated the Lansing apartment in which they had lived for three years because of it.

Becker said she also suffers from the illness, although not as severely as her daughters, who are 34 and 29, and her grandson, who is 12.

Becker, 62, a Michigan native, said she was living with them. She needs housing for just a few days, she said.

One daughter and her son are on disability because of the mold-related illness, and the other daughter is seeking disability because of it, she said.

She said the family’s resources are very limited. They are hoping someone will provide them a place till stay until about May 7, when they may relocate to the Southwest if they have not worked out a housing solution in the Lansing area. “The Southwest is a very good environment for not producing mold,” she said.

Becker said the problems with mold began about 10 years ago in California, where her daughters and grandson were living and where she would occasionally visit them.

They had bought a house “where the mold problem in the basement was not apparent because it had been all painted and updated.”

She said one daughter began having serious problems almost immediately, such as black-outs, muscle twitching and shooting pains, causing hospitalization. Her other daughter and grandson’s problems came on more gradually.

They moved to Lansing in 2006. About three years ago they moved into a new apartment complex in Lansing.

She said they did mold testing on the apartment before moving in and thought it was mold-free. It was fine for about two years, she said. Last year, however, the family began developing mold problems again.

Becker called the illness a “hidden epidemic. Anyone can be affected.”

She said he has had to leave two jobs in Lansing because they were in buildings with mold.
She said the illness has a “double whammy”: “You lose your health and the place where you should be recuperating.”

Becker said she and her family are members of Kehillat Israel, whose rabbi is trying to find housing for them.

Anyone interested in helping Becker and her family should e-mail her at