KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All winter long a Kansas City family of nine have been living without any heat or hot water.
Once again Monday night, Jessica Harvey, her husband and their seven children huddled around a space heater and slept in coats and dozens of blankets.
“Everybody pretty much just huddles up especially at night. We try to keep each other warm the best we can. We’re not able to wash dishes. We’re not able to take showers. We have to get the kids over to grandma’s and get them cleaned up the best we can,” Harvey said.
The KC mom said in September 2015, when she and her family moved into the single-story rental house off Bales Avenue, it only had a few minor issues.
“We came in with clothes and stuff and, like, it really was fine. The only concerns were a bug infestation in certain spots, and we couldn’t get proper locks on the doors,” Harvey said.
Three years later, the disappointed mom said the furnace is broken, the wiring is faulty and they can’t use their bathroom sink.
“The bathroom sink is separated from the wall. Water leaks from the kitchen sink pipes down onto an electrical box in the basement,” Harvey said. “I know that’s extremely dangerous. One time it was real wet down there, so there were a couple of days where the power was completely out for an entire day.”
Cold air continues to seep through a huge hole in an upstairs bedroom and through a broken window downstairs. Harvey and her children, who range from 5 to 11 years old, frequently huddle in coats and a lot of layers around a space heater to stay warm
What’s more, with dangerous, below freezing temperatures on the way Tuesday and Wednesday, the worried mom’s fears are growing.
“I just hope we don’t freeze, we don’t get frostbite and that no none gets overly sick. I do have a son here that has some breathing issues. I don’t want his asthma to flare up,” Harvey said.
“Her kids are in a house that’s just not suitable to live in. It isn’t warm. They don’t have a stove or a refrigerator,” said Harvey’s friend, Linda Morgan.
One of Morgan’s friends gave her cash to buy the Harvey family a space heater.
“It’s gonna be -1 degree on Tuesday, so yeah, it bothers me real bad that they have to live that way,” Morgan said.
Harvey admits after she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2017, she and her husband got behind in their rent payments.
However, she said she and her husband are making $600 reduced payments they agreed to with Renters Warehouse.
“I sent them an email telling them that I had lost my job after I got sick. I talked to them, and they said we could make the $600 payments, which we’ve been doing. In December, they sent a guy out here to our house, but he only took pictures. He didn’t fix a thing,” Harvey said.
On Monday, FOX4 called Renters Warehouse’s corporate office in Minnesota.
“What I’ll do is get this into the proper hands and have somebody reach out to you,” said Andy Keenan, who works in the company’s sales department.
FOX4 also stopped by the company’s office on West Gregory in Kansas City.
“I’ll find out who that person is, and I’ll give you a quick call,” said a man who claimed to be a manager.
We’re still waiting to hear from Renters Warehouse, and so are the Harveys and their cold children.
“I just want someone to respond, someone to say, ‘Hey we’re gonna come and fix the things that need to be fixed,'” Harvey said. “I’ve cried out to them to come and do something and so far, nothing. It does break my heart. No kid, no child should have to go through this as far as sitting here in the cold.”