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Family with 9 kids fighting off mold, leaks at Tompkins Houses home

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT, Brooklyn – The kitchen where 38-year-old Assa Diaby would normally cook dinner for her nine children is broken down, filled with roaches and an abundance of mold.

They live in the Tompkins Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn -- where its residents have been in at odds against NYCHA over its putrid living conditions.

Karorou Gary, Diaby's 13-year-old asthmatic son, gave PIX11 a tour of their home. Leaks, heavy air and holes in the wall were present throughout.

"As soon I've moved into the house, I had a leaking problem," Diaby said.

Two weeks ago, a pipe burst flooding her apartment and destroying her furniture and personal belongings.

"Everyday 1 a.m. or 2 a.m., I get up to mop and put blankets down," Gary said. "I lose at least three hours of sleep."

For 14 days, her calls to NYCHA were unanswered until workers suddenly appeared Thursday.

For critics like community activist Karen Cherry,  she wasn't satisfied with their arrival. Delays like this one she says are emblematic of a bigger bureaucratic problem in addressing grievances in public housing.

"14 days later, 14 days later," Cherry told Tompkins Houses manager Michael Jones in front of news cameras. "They lost blankets, they lost shoes."

"What we are doing here today we are coming here, letting her know we've identified her concerns and work on those starting today and moving forward next week," Jones said.

Moments later, workers rolled in a new stove for Diaby and her family. It was a welcome sight for a family whose kids say they haven't had a home cooked meal in two weeks.

For Assa, who earns $1,200 a month as a health care worker, is a small reprieve in what remains to be a ramshackled apartment that she just doesn't want for her kids.

"I don't have choice," she said.

Reporting by David Ariosto.