Mold discovered at Sarasota Salvation Army

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SARASOTA, FL. - Some homeless Suncoast families were looking for another place to stay Thursday night after being forced out of their dorms at the Sarasota Salvation Army.

“It's a nice facility, it seemed very clean, we have washing and drying, just a small kitchen with a microwave with the baby and stuff."  It’s a place that became the last chance at residence for this new mother and her child.  “We just ran out of options, run out of money, we needed some place to say,” says Amanda Luneke.

But as great a place Luneke says the emergency family dorm at the Salvation Army has been over the last week, a recent discovery above her baby's crib was shocking. “I looked up, and there's all this mold around them.”

Now, those living in the dorm now have to move out while they complete a 90 day 3-phase project to eradicate the problem. “They told us we were to leave by Monday at 7am. They are giving us a week at the Cadillac Motel, after that I don't know.”

This is not the only question this mother has. “My child is now 6 weeks old, and why even for a week and a half, if you knew this mold problem is so bad, why did you even let me into the program.”

ABC 7 sat down with Salvation Army General Manager Bryan Pope to get some answers. He says they are doing everything they can to help the 12 people affected by the issue. “I've been trying to talk to each one of them individually here and give them some reassurances, trying to give them some pathways.”

He also says even though some of the residents might be under discomfort for a certain amount of time, their goal is to keep as many people housed as possible. “We're not abandoning them in any means. There will be a point in time that they have to find a way to get something going somewhere else.”

Pope says the mold came as a result from an unusually wet summer and also problems with duct work that was not properly insulated.

They are placing some families in their Families in Traditional Housing Program and moving others to alternate local accommodations.

There are no laws that allow the Health Department to respond to mold complaints in an enforcement manner, but they can help identify the problem, and advise on how to get it taken care of, as well as answer any other questions a person might have.