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Dream Home Search Becomes Rental Nightmare

A woman and her six kids working to get out of a Henderson shelter watched as their search for a dream home turned into a nightmare.

The family says where they’re staying now, they’re living in squalor.

She says her effort to get out trapped her in a scam, and that dirty home.

Danita Ellington says she and her six kids have been through a mess trying to get back on their feet, with both the condition of the home they’re renting and in their effort to get out.

“I’m just lost. I just feel lost. I feel like I’m not capable of anything. The kids can’t take showers. The kids can’t be kids. They can’t have a life,” Danita cried.

Danita says her efforts to start that new life have been thwarted at every turn.

She thought she would only need to do some minor repairs on the home she’s renting on 1505 S. Linwood Avenue in Evansville.

But after she moved in?

“It got worse. The sump pump never worked. The basement flooded. To flush the toilet, it would come through the tub. I couldn’t use the kitchen sink at all.”

She says her clothes and furniture have been ruined by mold since bringing her things inside, and her family members have all become sick.

“Eventually I start seeing certain things. I looked up symptoms of mold. We carry all those symptoms that the internet has on there for the mold.”

Desperate to provide a livable environment for her family, she tried to lock down another home off South Thomas.

“I tried to get out of the house and I’d seen a house. I talked to the landlord, got the landlord’s attention. She reached back out to me, paid her and she scammed me on the house.”

Danita shared text messages that show although she was approved to move in, and signed a lease, she was later rejected–and says she never got a refund.

“I’m trying but to take care of six and to save for another house or to save to move, it’s a little hard.”

Her story is now connected to what happened to an Evansville woman last July.

A sign posted on the home that woman tried to rent warned potential renters that someone other than Florida-based DayMark housing company was falsely advertising it was for rent.

That home is one of two in Evansville listed as being owned by DayMark on their website. The second home on their listing is the one Danita says she was scammed out of.

Danita has reached out to local leaders, who are concerned about what happened to her.

She says city inspectors have taken a look inside her current home at the conditions.

“We’re going to use whatever power we have within the NAACP to right this wrong, to make sure those people answer for this deliberate–which some neighbors say the house was condemned. She should never have been living in it,” said Rev. George Clinton Arnold with the Evansville Branch of the NAACP.

And although Danita says she was scammed out of her dream home–she told us, she still wants it:

“This is where me and my kids are supposed to be. This is where we’re supposed to live. This is where we’re supposed to be happy and grow up.”

City code inspectors did not make themselves available for comment when we called.

We reached out to the landlord of 1505 S. Linwood, and that call was not returned either.

Efforts to contact those claiming to be the leaseholders for 208 S. Thomas Avenue gave a call rejected message.

Phone calls to DayMark representatives have not been returned.

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