By Dave Savini

(CBS) — Nine weeks without water service in their home. It happened to a local family.

No water for cooking, doing dishes, showering — or even to use the toilet. This family turned to the 2 Investigators for help.

CBS 2’s Dave Savini reports.

The sight of water flowing from Wanda Poplar’s sink brought her to tears.

“I never had to live like this,” she says.

When we first met she and her son, who has disabilities, were living in conditions not fit for a human.

“I felt like I’m an animal. It’s degrading,” she says.

Poplar turned to the 2 Investigators for help after water and garbage services to her home were cut off Oct. 19.

She says her landlord collected her rent payment and HUD’s portion, too, but did not pay the water bill, even though HUD documents say her only responsibility was to pay gas and electric.

When her water was cut off, the family was reduced to using bottled water for washing and buckets for going to the washroom.

Poplar says she lived in the HUD-subsidized home for nearly two decades. She says she recently found out her new landlord wasn’t handling the bill.

Because the bill was in her landlord’s name, she says Harvey city officials would not let her pay it.

But after CBS 2 got involved, Harvey officials realized something was amiss. They turned Poplar’s water back on and launched an investigation into the landlord for the water and other conditions for her residence and another HUD-subsidized rental.

Her problems have been costly, too. She says her original landlord, every month — for decades –gave her the water bill to pay.

She thinks she ended up paying more than $20,000, a painful loss. But Poplar’s grateful her more recent problem has been fixed.

“You don’t know how much you miss something until you don’t have it,” she says.

The Housing Authority of Cook County says Poplar’s place failed three inspections and the landlord failed to fix the problems, including the lack of water.

HUD payments to the landlord were stopped, and the Housing Authority is working with Poplar to find a new home.

The landlord did not get back to CBS 2 for this report.


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