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Shelter responds to woman's bed bug complaint

Another resident claims there's been a 'dramatic difference'

Following last week's report by Brian Mylar, the Battered Women's and Children's Shelter held a media open house Friday in response to a resident's complaint that she and her children had been bitten by bed bugs during their stay.

At the time, Marta Pelaez, president of Family Violence Prevention Services, said the woman was not asked to leave and the problem was an isolated one.

Pelaez said Friday, "When you have 156 people in (the) residence and there is one family that is affected, then the issue has to be placed in proper perspective."

She said the shelter followed the industry standard protocol by treating that room for bed bugs and two adjoining rooms.

Another resident who contacted KSAT 12 News said since the story aired, the shelter has been a busy place with staff painting, cleaning and doing repair work.

"It's a dramatic difference," she said.

Pelaez said work was done, but she described it as spring cleaning at the 9-year-old facility.

"Nothing related to anyone forcing us or public opinion forcing us. We owe it to the people who live here," Pelaez said.

She said at least 156 women and children stay in 30 dormitory-style rooms.

Pelaez said the shelter has not had any demerits by the Metropolitan Health District. She also said the Texas Department of Health and Human Services does unannounced inspections as well.

She said the shelter has nothing to hide from the public that depends on them, or their donors, visitors or volunteers.

Pelaez said she fears the negative exposure over a case of bed bugs may be enough to keep away potential clients.

"Victims of domestic violence will look for anything to rationalize staying with the perpetrator," Pelaez said. "What really should matter is that we provide services that are life-changing."