Lights out for Brownsville woman, no landlord in sight

The pain of being displaced from her home is evident on 89-year-old Barbarita Mata's face.

She's lived in a small wooden house on 11th Street in Brownsville for the past 15 years.

She was forced to leave the home Sunday when she was left without electricity.

Her daughter Irma Mata said it's not a matter of paying the bill, she claims it's the faulty wiring throughout the home.

The landlord doesn TMt live here, and we can get a hold of him only by mail," Irma Mata said.

She adds the public utilities board informed them the breakers could be the problem, so they hired someone to replace the breakers.

However, at the first flip of the switch proved the problem could be more extensive.

"(The person we hired) went and brought the breakers, put them on, and then I came in turned on (the) light and it went off, Irma Mata said. Then I went to the kitchen, turned the one on over there and it turned on but as soon as I connected the refrigerator it turned off.

She said this is a problem that needs to be addressed by the landlord who lives in Chicago, but only comes down once a year to collect a lump-sum for a year's rent and pay property taxes.

The family has already written the landlord a letter letting him know of the problem, but there's no telling when he'll respond. It's a waiting game putting Barbarita Mata through emotional anguish.

"I TMm used to doing everything here in my home - this is has been my home for a long time, I TMve been renting for years."

Harlingen Housing Authority officials told Action 4 News that the best option for the elderly woman might be to get a new home

They said that since the living arrangement between Mata and her landlord has worked for 15 years, the landlord can TMt necessarily be blamed in this situation.

They recommend Mata get on a waiting for a waiting list for housing and move in with a relative, while she waits for the landlord to come down in October.