Home Heartache: Single mom living with no plumbing

(WSVN) - A mother and daughter living in deplorable conditions in Fort Lauderdale, and the city should have protected her from this home heartache. 7’s Brian Entin investigates.

We have seen slumlords and people living in terrible conditions but never anything quite like this.

Fearry Dolcini, renter: “Since we can’t use the shower, I have to fill up these buckets of warm water from the kitchen sink, and then, I put the bucket in here, and we take a bath.”

When we met Fearry Dolcini, she and her 11-year-old daughter had no plumbing inside their rented Fort Lauderdale home.

They were bathing in this kiddie pool and using a bucket to go to the bathroom.

Fearry Dolcini: “This is actually the toilet you’re looking at because we can’t use the toilet.”

There is only one bathroom in the house.

Fearry Dolcini: “This is all sewage that’s on the ground.”

When they flushed the toilet, sewage backed up into the entire home.

Fearry Dolcini: “When I came home, my dog was inside the room, and it was basically full of sewer water.”

The house smelled terrible when we were there, and Fearry told us she had not been able to use the bathroom for more than a month.

Brian Entin: “What happens when you tell your landlord about this?”

Fearry Dolcini: “He does not respond back, or he will tell me he’s going to get back with me, and then, I ask him, ‘What time?’ He never gives me a time.”

Fearry is on Section 8, so the Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority pays her rent with taxpayer money. They’re supposed to inspect the house and make sure any problems are fixed, but that clearly did not happen in this case.

Tam English, Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority, Executive Director: “Bathing a kid in a plastic bathtub. I about had a stroke when I heard it.”

Brian Entin: “And going to the bathroom in a bucket. Does that bother you? Do you think that’s acceptable?”

Tam English: “That’s absolutely not acceptable, and it should never have happened.”

Housing authority director Tam English was shocked when we called him with the details.

He says the housing authority normally has three full-time inspectors, but they are down one, so they used an outside contractor to do the inspection on Fearry’s house.

English says when the contracted inspector saw there was no working bathroom, he should have given the landlord two days to fix the problem and then re-inspected the house, but instead, he gave the landlord a month, and Fearry was left with no working toilet or shower.

Brian Entin: “Is it appropriate that they should have given him a month to fix it?”

Tam English: “Not with just one bathroom. Normally, they give them 48 hours if it’s just one bathroom.”

Brian Entin: “So how did that mistake happen?”

Tam English: “I don’t know. I don’t know.”

Brian Entin: “Will you figure it out?”

Tam English: “We will just make sure that it doesn’t happen again. That’s more important.”

English says his staff met with the contracted inspectors to go over the mistake, but living like this took a toll on Fearry’s daughter.

Fearry Dolcini: “Her teacher is starting to say that it’s affecting her emotionally, and, you know, it’s hard for her to sleep. It’s hard for her to breathe sometimes, and sometimes, I have to let her sleep over at a friend’s house.”

After we called, the city says they terminated their lease with the landlord.

Fearry and her daughter are staying with family while she looks for new Section 8 housing.

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