The fire marshal's office in Moncton has shut down a rooming house at 118 Lewisville Road after declaring the building unsafe.
The building was inspected on Tuesday and was ordered closed until repairs are done.
Shelly Blab is one of 11 people who lived in the two-storey building.
She shared the top floor with six other people — and sometimes more.
"That was another problem," said Blab.
"There were people coming in here — squatters — that would, if a door was left open, they would go in and sleep on the bed. So you never knew who was going to be here."
Blab fell on the creaky stairs on the outside of the building last winter and broke her foot.
"They're pretty crooked and the ambulance drivers that came here to get me, the stairs weren't shovelled, the driveway wasn't plowed, so I had to use them as crutches to get to the road," she said.
Blag said she is glad her former home has been condemned.
"Unbearable," she said.
"There were bed bugs. The landlord was quick to collect the rent but not quick to do any repairs or anything.
"Actually, I consider it a blessing. It really is."
The Red Cross helped her find a new apartment that is safe and clean, she said.
Montrealer Eric Lane has been living in what authorities call unhealthy and unsafe conditions for the past four months, even though the City flagged his apartment more than a year ago as needing major repairs and renovations.
Lane shares a 3 ½ apartment with a roommate in a block of run-down buildings on Ranger Street in Ahuntsic-Cartierville.
He says he can barely afford to pay for his half the $720 a month rent.
Outside his building, a heap of mattresses and garbage is piled on the ground. Inside, the paint on Lane’s bathroom ceiling is peeling off, there are tiles missing from his bathroom walls and floor.
He says the bed bugs are so bad, he sleeps during the day because otherwise they cover his body at night and prick him like needles.
Landlords are prohibited from allowing tenants to live in these types of conditions, according to the City of Montreal’s bylaw on housing hygiene, maintenance and safety.
Tenants' rights advocates say City of Montreal too slow to act
People like Lane are willing to live in such decrepit conditions because they have no choice, according to the Ahuntsic-Cartierville tenants’ association (CLAC).
“He’s accepting to live with bedbugs and it’s not because he has the choice. He needs a place to stay,” says Patrice Sansregret, a community organizer with CLAC.
Sansregret says the city doesn’t do enough to force landlords to maintain their properties and address issues quickly, which leaves vulnerable tenants like Lane unprotected.
“[The landlord] was not taking care of his buildings, he was taking the money of the tenant every month for the rent and they were in really miserable conditions of living,” Sansregret says.
Russell Copeman, the city's executive committee member responsible for housing, admits Lane’s living conditions are “unacceptable.”
He says his office does its best to prevent those types of situations.
“We do stop them when the safety and the health of the tenants are threatened.”
City knew about Ranger Street living conditions since 2009
The city has been aware of these conditions since 2009, when the borough inspectors office asked the city centre to intervene with three addresses on Ranger Street — 11750, 11760, 11815 — all owned by the same landlord, Guoji Shan.
Tenants in those buildings were living with a range of issues, including mould, vermin and a general state of disrepair.
After several series of inspections, non-compliance notices and follow-ups, the city sat down with the landlord in 2013 to discuss a large-scale evacuation plan for 86 apartments at his three properties.
City officials decided to carry out the evacuations in three waves (from most urgent to least).
Lane moved into apartment slated for evacuation
Lane found out by surprise at the start of September that his latest apartment would be part of the final wave of evacuations, even though his landlord has known for more than a year.
He had been living in another apartment in the building until recently, but it was too expensive, so the landlord let Lane move into another unit over the summer.
Lane says he had no idea he would be forced to leave about four months later.
Two weeks after he received the evacuation notice, CBC News visited Lane. At the time, he was afraid he could end up living on the streets.
“It’s just not enough time … I’m frustrated. I just don’t know what to do,” he said.
According to the City of Montreal, tenants in Lane's situation are always offered the option of emergency subsidized housing.
But when the tenants' association and CBC News visited him two weeks after he received his latest evacuation notice, Lane was worried he'd end up on the streets.
When Sansregret asked him what his plans were, Lane said "Throw my stuff in storage, and try and find someone to take me in until I can find another apartment."
That's when Sansregret explained to Lane he should be eligible for subsidized housing.
The past few weeks of waiting and worrying have been a nightmare for Lane,
"With the income he makes and because he’s been evacuated by the city, we think he should have low-rent habitation," Sansregret says.
"He has all the qualities to get a subsidized apartment, but it’s not in my control. It's the City,"
The landlord, Guoji Shan, refused an on-camera interview, but did answer a few questions on the phone.
He said he doesn’t see anything wrong with asking someone to leave while he does renovations.
"The apartment is not renovated ... tenants knew that ... So now we ask them to move out to be able to do renovations."
When CBC News asked Shan why he didn't properly maintain his buildings, and allowed them to fall into such a state of disrepair, he said:“When the house become older, you need to do renovations, that’s normal."
Shan says all the renovations should be completed by the end of 2014.
CBC Montreal Investigates
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A family of entomologists from Dorval, made up of a father and his two children, hope their invention will help Montrealers control bed bug infestations.
The Maloney family has developed a self-sterilizing bed that kills bed bugs with heat. Users can turn it on during waking hours and shut it off before bed. While sleeping, any remaining bed bugs are caught in small glue traps in the mattress.
The son, Tim Maloney, acted as the family's guinea pig. He released hundreds of bed bugs in a carefully insulated structure set up in the family's back yard. He then placed the bed inside, which heats to 50°C, killing the bugs and their eggs.
“Pesticides don't even penetrate and kill the eggs," he says. "So heat is really the ultimate weapon.”
The Maloneys say their backyard tests show the bed can drastically reduce the number of bugs in the room, by drawing them in and zapping them dead.
"What you're doing is following the biology of the insect to let them do what they naturally do, which is to seek you out at night,” says the father, Paul Maloney.
Over the course of nine days, Tim Maloney says he was able to bring the population of 400 bed bugs down to two.
The daughter in the family, Laurel Maloney, says she used one of the beds when she discovered her apartment building was infested with bed bugs.
“We were able to sleep. We were able to not worry that it would come to us,” she says.
Montreal bed bug exterminator Don Prashker also uses heat to kill bed bugs. He says the Maloney's invention should work but he says it's important to check for bed bugs hiding in walls and other furniture.
The family says the device has been approved by the Canadian Safety Association and a Canadian military base has already purchased 20 of them.Also Read
In our last article, we talked about the different options and facilities available to you if you chose to live on campus. In this part, we will help you to preempt the challenges you may face if you decide to live on campus.
Be Mentally Prepared
Like we said, your experience depends on how prepared you are and how well you learn to cope with all the challenges of living away from home and sharing your space with hundreds of students. You will almost definitely be dealing with a small (possibly shared) living space. That space will be where you do spend most of your time, doing everything from sleeping and eating, to studying and playing games. You will no longer have the luxury of different rooms for different purposes as you did at home. Everything you do will be done in that small area. So it is crucial to be prepared for that change, both emotionally and with what you pack.
What To Bring?
Since this space will be your sanctuary for the foreseeable future, how you equip it can determine what kind of experience you have. We have broken down our list to help you organize your luggage better:
It is important to bring the basics, such as clothes you will be wearing every day to class. Make sure that these are presentable and decent. While you don’t have to go to class in formalwear, it is a good idea to not look unkempt and show up in your pyjamas either. Also, pack at least one set of formal clothes for presentations, interviews, and other important formal events. It is also important to bring comfortable clothing that you can lounge around in. T-shirts, shorts and hoodies have become the college uniform for students relaxing outside class. Don’t forget to bring enough underwear, socks, and shoes also. Since you will be in charge of your own laundry, make sure you have packed enough so that you aren’t wearing dirty clothes to class at the last minute because you forgot to do laundry.
A toothbrush is perhaps the most forgotten item in packing, whether it is for an overnight stay or when you are moving. Also try to remember to bring other toiletries, such as your favorite shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, hair products, and whatever else you consider essential. You may or may not find these things around your campus, and it is always important to check so that you aren’t left with damaged hair as you try out a new hair product.
It is good to remember that you are going to university to study, so you do need to bring in the essentials, including notebooks or notepads, stationery, your laptop (and its charger!), and other supplies (maybe a foreign language dictionary?) that you require.
Now that we’ve sorted out the mundane (but crucial) basics, let’s get on to the important things that many students forget to consider.
Decorating your dorm room is key. The first thing you should do when you get to your dorm is to make it livable and home-y. This room will be your safe haven, your home, for the next one to four years. It is a good idea to make sure it is somewhere you feel comfortable. The key to decorating and organizing small spaces is to think vertically and utilize odd spaces. You will have very little space to work with, so using shelves on your desks, walls or cupboards to store more items and put up more decorations will help. Under your bed is a great space to store your luggage, cleaning supplies or other things you don’t need around you daily.
Another important part of decorating your room is to bring color into the space. Put up photos, posters, colorful bed covers, rugs, lamps and other memorabilia that reminds you of your home, friends, and family. A comfortable living space that feels like home is crucial in adjusting to living away from home. Decorating isn’t just for girls. This room will be your corner–the place you will deal with horrible fights, brain-numbing assignments, and emotionally draining days from. Make sure it can re-energize you on bad days.
Most dorms will have restaurants or cafeterias in the building or nearby, on campus. However, don’t forget to store some breakfast items in your room for the times you don’t have a morning class and don’t feel like getting ready and going all the way to the cafeteria. It is also good to have a bite on hand for those days where you’re running late and you need to eat your breakfast while you’re getting ready. Even more importantly, always have your favorite snacks stocked in your room. Not only are they a afternoon necessity but they make all-nighters and study sessions much more bearable.
It is important to keep your room clean. A dirty room can not only lead to insects and bugs, but it can also dirty your clean laundry, give your clothes and belongings a nasty smell, or even make you the joke (or outcast) of the dorms. Cleaning supplies we recommend for students include a dry mop (which can help you sweep and mop your room), a microfiber cleaning cloth (to help wipe your tables and windows), a cleaning solution that smells nice (which will work for both moping your floors and wiping your windows and other surfaces). Also good to remember is laundry detergent and a nice-smelling softener, and a basket or container to store all your cleaning supplies.
Most Forgotten Items
In all the hectic packing and preparing, there are many things you won’t realize you’ve missed until you need them. Here are some of the most forgotten items that you should pack:
An alarm clock: While your phone may be part of your regular waking up routine, there is no substitute for an alarm clock, especially when you can’t find your charger and your phone is out of charge.
Medicines: University health centers are great for colds and getting out of class. But, for late night upset stomachs and period cramps, having your own stock of medicines and supplements you usually require is quite helpful.
Hangers: You may prefer to fold your clothes, but it is always a good idea to have more hangers on hand than you need, especially if you suddenly realize you need formal wear for the morning and prefer to iron it the night before.
Forks, Spoons and Containers: The cafeteria will provide you with cutlery, but you will also have to return it. It is a good idea to have at least one set of your own plates, forks, spoons, and containers for when you want to eat in your room, or even cook. (We’ll cover Kitchen Essentials in another part of the Dorm Survival Guide.)
Cleaning supplies: As we mentioned before, many students forget that they are in charge of cleaning their own living space, and it is important to be prepared.
Multi-outlet extension cords: These are the most underrated items by students until you start living in your room. But once you realize that one or two power outlets are not enough for all your electronics and lights, or that you have no sockets next to your bed and need to sit by the door to use your phone as its charging, you will wish that you’d brought at least two of these.
Three babies' bodies found in house full of vermin
Godsmack - Godsmack
- Video Games
- Coffee Stain Studios
- Goat Simulator
Need to clean out your closets, basements and garages? Take your unwanted stuff out to the curb as part of the City of Winnipeg's fall giveaway weekend, which runs Saturday and Sunday.
Giveaway weekends have become a seasonal tradition in Winnipeg since the inaugural event took place in September 2009.
The city organized the giveaway weekends twice a year — once in the spring, and once in the fall — so residents can give their unwanted (but still usable) items new homes, keeping them out of the landfill as a result.
Have some stuff you want to get rid of? Here's what to do:
- Round up items such as books, CDs, furniture, toys, clothes, tools, household materials, kitchenware, etc. Giveaway items should still be in good condition.
- Mark each giveaway item with a FREE sticker or sign.
- Place the items at the edge of your curb, lawn or yard. While you're at it, put away other items nearby that you want to keep, or else they may disappear!
- If anything is left over, take it back into your home by dusk on Sunday.
Here's what NOT to do:
- Don't dump your items on someone else's property.
- Don't let your items block or hinder traffic.
- Don't give away items infested with bed bugs, such as mattresses or bedding.
- Don't give away toilets, either.
For those seeking new-to-you treasures this weekend, the city has some etiquette tips:
- Take only the items at the curb marked FREE.
- Respect other people's property — don't walk or drive on people's lawns or gardens.
- Obey the traffic laws at all times (e.g., don't block traffic, park illegally or block people's driveways with your vehicle) and watch out for children.
- Check all your acquired items closely for bedbugs before putting them in your vehicle or bringing them into your home.
The streets of Halifax — and many other university cities — are lined with mattresses this week heading for the big sleep of the landfill. Some are stained, nasty and broken, while others still have a spring in their step.
Some people, like professional mover Greg Slaunwhite, rescue the good ones and take them to places like the Parker Street Furniture Bank.
"We'll take them down and somebody else moving in that doesn't have one will get a chance for $25 to get a mattress,” he said.
Staff at the food bank inspect them closely to make sure they're in good condition.
"We also have a look at it to see that there are no obvious signs of bugs or anything else. Then we accept it and we bring it in and take a closer look at it, and it will go out when somebody wants it,” said Roy Uffindell.
Mattress Mart encourages recycling. When a customer buys a new bed, their old box spring and mattress are sent to a recycling plant in Montreal for a $10 fee. About 95 per cent of the mattress is recyclable.
Once there, the mattress is shredded. The upholstery is incinerated to create energy; the metal springs are melted down and reused.
"That doesn't in any way cover the actual cost of recycling because it's shipped back to Montreal, so there's the gas, and at the warehouse it's ripped apart, so it's the labour for that," explained Elaine Grantham of Mattress Mart.
"It's significantly higher than the $10 fee to actually recycle a mattress.”
Nova Scotia’s Department of Environment is preparing a report looking into increasing the levels of recycling for mattresses. One of the ideas is to put a mandatory fee on mattresses, and many other items including carpets and roofing materials.
A report will be ready at the end of this month.
Halifax Regional Municipality looked at the idea in 2012, but so far nothing has come of it.
Nobody panic but here's where bed bugs are showing up in Boston: "According to John Meaney, Assistant Commissioner of Boston's Inspectional Services Department, bed bugs have spread to every neighborhood of the city as more and more students (who move the most often) move here and adopt used beds and other furniture off of the streets." [Boston.com]
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