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Longstanding Health Hazards In Low-Income Housing Make Some Renters Unsafe At Home

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Renter Patricia Macias and her son Elijah. The stress of caring for her son while keeping him away from her home's dangers has been eating at Macias."There is a monster on top of me day and night," she said. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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A few days ago, I talked to Dr. David Jacobs of the National Center for Healthy Housing, a nonprofit advocacy and research group, about the dangers of being quarantined in substandard housing.

“The challenge before us today,” he told me, “especially in the context of the COVID epidemic, is to make sure that these existing conditions in homes don't produce a second wave of health problems.”

Patricia Macias knows all too well about these challenges. In addition to his Down Syndrome, her son Elijah has health issues that are exacerbated by conditions inside their apartment in Arlington Heights.

“Since we've been living here, he has developed asthma, and he's suffering right now with sleep apnea,” Macias told me.

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They have lived at the property for a decade, Macias said, and coped with roach infestations, rats, and lead paint.

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