Demequa Russ has lived in her HUD subsidized apartment in Dickson since 2014.
It's one of the only places she can afford to live with her young son. However, recently they've had a problem.
A leaking pipe above her ceiling has caused a lot of damage. Last week, it caused the ceiling in one of her closets to collapse, exposing her and her 2-year-old son to the mold and mildew behind their walls.
"I noticed the smell, I noticed the bugs," Russ said.
Repairs have not started yet. After making several calls to the property manager, health department, codes department and division of consumer affairs, Russ was told to get an attorney but she can't afford one.
“We don’t have the funds for an attorney at this point so it was more of I guess I’ll just have to wait until they fix it,” said Russ.
Organizations like the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee can help. "In the Nashville office we end up doing a lot of focus on people who are in public housing or are in HUD subsidized housing," Zac Oswald said.
Oswald is an attorney with the Legal Aid Society and said there are things tenants should do if they need legal help.
"Make sure they're tracking things in writing. Anytime you can express the story you have going on with your landlord in a written form," Oswald explained. "Here's the extent of the conditions going on in my apartment, I've taken pictures of it. I've documented everything going on and it's still not safe to live in, please can you help me?"