After a fire displaces a mother of four, she’s found herself in a battle with the Houma Housing Authority over a new place to call home.
WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter spoke with the determined mother, who says the fight is far from over.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Charleta Lyons said.
Standing outside the shell of what was her home Charleta Lyons puts on a brave face.
Charred windows that have been boarded up paint the picture of an early morning fire she and four her children won’t soon forget.
“It’s surreal, it all feels like a dream, you know,” Lyons said. “We’ve lived her for six years.”
The postal worker was an hour into her shift when her supervisor gave a disturbing order.
“You have to leave now,” Lyons recounted.
She was worried sick.
Photographs of police, fire crews, and her smoldering life possessions document what she saw when she frantically made it home.
“Everything that I’ve had, everything that I’ve owned,” Lyons explained.
Thankfully her four children, ages 9-through-17, were awaken and made it out alive.
But for the past five day’s they’ve had no place to call home.
Trotter asked, “Hard to believe? Yes” “I’m a working mother, I have a college degree.”
And even though fire inspectors have not determined a cause, Lyons says the Houma Housing Authority has outright denied moving them into one of several available units.
“You know it lacks compassion, you know my children and I are homeless,” Lyons said.
Lyons, her family, and several of her neighbors are all angry because the lease agreement states, alternative housing will be provided in extreme circumstances; like what Lyons believes was an electrical fire.
We went to the Housing Authority that operates Senator Circle Apartments. We even called Executive Director Wayne Thibodeaux.
“Hello, this is Wayne Thibodeaux,” could be heard over the speaker phone.
We left a voice message.
Meantime, Lyons says this is a fight for her family, and she’s prepared to go the distance.
“I need for the housing authority, the board members to hold the director accountable for his actions,” Lyons said.
The local Red Cross and The Beacon Light of Houma have stepped in to help Lyons and her family.
By news time Thursday night, Wayne Thibodeaux had not returned our call.