City denies woman's claims of bedbugs at homeless shelter in Mott Haven
New York Daily News
Thursday, July 14, 2011
A Bronx mother is claiming her family got a creepy crawly
surprise last week at a borough homeless shelter - bedbugs.
But the Department of Homeless Services declared the
shelter is bedbug-free and is accusing Sharon Stoves, 27, of
lying to manipulate the system.
Stoves and her three daughters spent about a year at a shelter
near Yankee Stadium before moving last Friday to Jackson
Avenue Family Residence, a shelter on E. 138th St. in Mott
Other residents insist the building is clean and well-run.
Stoves claims she woke up early Saturday to an attack by
razor-toothed bedbugs, and even has a plastic cup of the critters
that she claims she collected before fleeing the unit.
"There were bedbugs on me," she said. "I grabbed the kids and
there was a bedbug on my daughter's ear."
They spent the rest of the night with the girls' father.
Stoves demanded a transfer from DHS. The agency sent an
exterminator to inspect her unit, and found no trace of bedbugs and
Stoves was told to return, said Heather Janik, a DHS
"Bedbugs are a serious problem throughout the city and we are
addressing this as such," Janik said. "The unit was aggressively
treated by an expert contractor and no bedbugs were found."
Stoves claims she and her daughters were bitten, but DHS found
no signs of bedbug bites.
Jackson residents Armando Troche, 29, and Mary
Santiago, 57, said Tuesday their units are bedbug-free.
According to Janik, "Ms. Stoves' false claims and demands to be
relocated are rooted in avoiding shelter compliance and moving
herself and her children towards self-sufficiency."
The average cost of housing a family in the shelter system is
$3,000 per month.
On Saturday, Stoves - who is unemployed - refused to return to
"They wanted to send me back to the same shelter with the
bedbugs," she said. "I was grossed out and disgusted."
On Monday, Stoves again demanded a transfer and DHS moved the
family to a shelter on Sherman Ave. near E. 167th St.
Bedbug panic gripped the city last year, following sightings at
hotels and SoHo clothing stores.
The shelter system is no different, said Patrick Markee,
spokesman at Coalition for the Homeless, a watchdog group that
has documented bedbug infestations in several city shelters.
But DHS has taken steps to prevent the city's bedbug problem
from affecting the shelter system, said Janik.
City Department of Housing Preservation and Development records
show that a bedbug complaint was filed at Jackson on June 24.