WPDE investigation leads to HUD to inspection of apartment complex
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 22:29:00 GMT —
A WPDE NewsChannel 15 investigation prompted the US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to inspect 16 apartments for safety issues at the Dillon Manor apartment complex on McKenzie Road.
In recent weeks, Facebook messages, phone calls and emails from tenants at the complex asked our reporters to investigate their safety concerns.
Tyra Bruce has lived at the complex for a few years and called us after her 15-year-old son and his father nearly fell through the steps of the stairwell, in two separate incidents, last month.
Bruce's son went to the hospital, and she filed an incident report with the Dillon Police Department.
"I don't know at any given time, they gonna fall. The maintenance man tell me if you weigh a certain amount, don't walk on the steps. He tells me when I leave my apartment to let each one of my kids go down one at a time," said Bruce.
Some of the cement steps have been replaced wooden boards.
"The nail it grabs the bottom of your foot when you coming up the steps," Bruce explained. "The nail that's sticking out. The boards and the woods that's on the step. They coming back out. I got three kids and myself that has to come down these steps."
Bruce and four other residents also complained of unsanitary sinks and tubs.
Dillon Manor receives funding from HUD to offer reduced rent for low income residents.
HUD requires the complex to provide decent, safe and sanitary apartments to its tenants.
We emailed HUD officials about Bruce's concerns.
HUD'S public information officer responded to our email.
"HUD takes these matters very seriously and consequently on June 27 members of HUD's Multifamily Asset Management Branch inspected Dillon Manor and 16 apartments. It was noted that Management of Dillon Manor had taken temporary measures to fix the stairwells at the complex and are working to obtain bids to permanently replace all thirteen stairwells that are deteriorating based on the age of this apartment community," said Phillips. "There is also an immediate need for the Management to replace or install inserts in the residents' tubs that would provide for more sanitary conditions for the residents when they are taking baths or showers on a daily basis. It is our intention to continue to monitor the situation."
Hallmark Management owns Dillon Manor.
The company's vice president, Norine Lewis, spoke with us by phone about the complex.
Lewis said they had already budgeted to fix the stairwells before Bruce's complaint.
"Our concern is the safety of residents. We thought we were ahead of this, seems like the incident happened after the fact. Each year they do an inspection of the steps. They were welded in years past, but they need to be replaced," explained Lewis.
Lewis said they will fix the stairwell as soon as they get through the bidding process.
She said the complex had also allocated money to replace the tub inserts.
Lewis added Dillon Manor scored 90 out of 100 in its 2013 inspection.
Lewis said the complex's maintenance team and property manager work very hard to improve the units above the standards and requirement of HUD.
HUD officials say they will inspect the apartments again in the next six months.