By Nic Marco
A Sunderland housing association has set up a dedicated phone line for residents to come forward with concerns around mould and damp.
It comes after in November two-year-old Awaab Ishak died from a respiratory condition caused by exposure to mould in his rented Rochdale home.
Sunderland-based Gentoo said they have taken additional steps to support tenants with concerns around mould and damps in their homes following the national news story.
Bethan Wilkie, head of neighbourhoods at Gentoo, speaking at the latest Coalfield Area Committee meeting earlier this month, said a dedicated team has been set up to deal with any enquiries or concerns.
She said: “Following the recent coverage around the tragic impact of mould and damp, we know that some of our tenants may be concerned about mould and damp in their home.
“To ensure we provide the necessary support, we have set up a dedicated phone line where tenants can report any concerns about mould or damp, and these will be addressed as soon as possible.
“The health and safety of our tenants is absolutely our number one priority, and we believe everyone has the right to live safely and comfortably in their homes.”
She added they have always had staff in place to deal with damp enquiries, however they have put “more resources” into it following the recent tragedy in Greater Manchester.
At November’s council health and wellbeing scrutiny committee meeting chair Councillor Michael Butler said he has asked for a report to come forward in the new year on the state of homes in the city following the death of the toddler in Rochdale.
He added officers are expected to attend to answer queries from councillors and they “may need to ask some extremely uncomfortable questions, and that will be happening.”
Gentoo residents with concerns about damp or mould in their home can phone 0191 525 5500 Monday to Thursday, from 8:30am to 5pm, and Friday, from 8:30am to 12:30pm.
The housing association will then arrange a home inspection which will involve assessing the structure of the property, checking levels of humidity and if extractor fans are working, and taking photographs and samples of any issues found.