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Dylan and Ellen's Safe and Happy Home

Organized by: Danielle Pluta

Danielle's Photo

THE STORY:

My name is Dylan and I met my fiance Ellen a couple years back. We decided to take the step and move in together for the first time away from our parents. She is from Frankfort Indiana and I from Indianapolis Indiana. We settled down together in Greencastle and I secured a job at a local factory where I work full time, however unfortunately, Ellen is disabled. She receives disability but a good chunk gets taken from her to cover student loan debts she has been paying on for years. Everything was going well and we found a beautiful apartment in a historic building in downtown Greencastle. Rent was reasonable, we had plenty of space, and the location was perfect. A couple nights in, Ellen awoke with several bites on her stomach. I didn't think much of it, chocking it up to mosquitoes. Within the next two days, she was waking up covered in sore, itchy, infected welts from head to toe. I did some research and discovered we had bed bugs. Neither of us have ever dealt with this so we were in utter shock. We talked to many other tenants in the building to discover they have been suffering as well for months. We were not informed of an infestation and no help is being given to us. The landlord and realtor refuse to fumigate the entire building saying it's too expensive. We left only 10 days after moving in and are staying in a local hotel which is $60 a night after taxes. We can't afford to just move out after spending nearly $1,000 to move in and are losing the majority of the items we own. We can't enter the building without feeling them crawl all over us despite spending a ton of money on sprays and remedies to remove them. They simply slip into a neighboring room until the fumes settle and return the next night. My entire face is covered in an itchy rash and Ellen is allergic to them, experiencing at last count 47 welts that cause severe pain. She can't lay on her sides or back to sleep and wakes nearly every hour to apply topical creams. I have to go to work covered in embarrassing bites and take benadryl every four hours to deal with the swelling and itching. We left everything in our apartment except clothes and spent a large amount of money at the laundry mat to wash them all in scolding water and high heat dryers to avoid bringing them with us. We have been here two nights and have yet to be bitten because we were so careful in our methods to ensure they didnt tag along. I can't afford to pay rent there and keep us safe in the motel at the same time. Come Tuesday the landlord is having a pest company spray two of the twelve apartments which means for a couple days we may feel relief before they come back. We lost our bed, couch, dresser, books, etc. We barely have any safe possessions remaining and are broken hearted. We want to take our landlord to court but need money until then so we don't end up on the streets or in a shelter. Any funds received will help us secure a safe, happy apartment for the two of us and replace the essential items we have lost. We started this journey together and plan on getting the justice we deserve together by taking every legal option possible. Our home isn't a safe or viable option any longer we are both suffering internally as well. We can't sleep from constant paranoia and our anxiety of not being secure in our current situation. We discovered before we left that the people who lived there before us left in the middle of the night because of the infestation. There was a form the landlord made to have potential residents sign, warning of the infestation before they moved in however our neighbors and us were never given said paper. This is an issue that could have been prevented and has left us drained of emotions and money. Any donations at all would help us get back on our feet and replace lost items. Thank you for taking the time to read our story.

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Danielle Pluta

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