Maintenance Defects at Ogden Courts

by Cenabeth Cross 

I am working with RJ Assistant Editor Beauty Turner on a study of the relocation of the people in public housing high rises.

My residence is Ogden Courts. The Local Advisory Council election is over and the new officers are installed. I hadn’t heard anything about our relocation and I found out that neither had any of the other tenants. So I went to ask the LAC officer in my building, Marie Jones.

Jones told me she was being blackballed and no one was telling her anything. She told me to go to the LAC president in the next building, La’Tresha Green. I went to ask when would we be having a meeting to let us know when we would have to start our relocation.
When Green answered the door, I gave her one of my cards and asked her when we would be having a tenant meeting? She didn’t answer. She kept looking at the card then she looked up and asked me if I was the one who wrote about Ogden Courts in the last issue of the paper?

I said, “yes.” She told me, “That couldn’t be a picture of your apartment. You must have taken it in one of the vacant apartments.”

I assured her that it was indeed my bathroom ceiling and I don’t go into the vacant apartments. I asked her if she would like to come to my apartment and see. She refused.

I told Marie Jones what was said and she told Denise Richardson at a Central Advisory Council meeting. Four days later, Green, along with Jones and Richardson, came to my apartment to look at the damage. Richardson took me down to the office and they got it fixed right away.

It took them over two weeks to complete the job and another week before the manager came to inspect same.
The janitor was supposed to bring me a kitchen light and a smoke detector the next day, June 27. I haven’t gotten them yet.

On May 28, a tenant meeting was held in the next building, 2650 W. Ogden St., in the Tots Center. It was packed. Hosted by the new LAC president, La’Tresha Green, the event featured CHA Operations Director Duwayne Bailey and CHA’s Denise Richardson. Marie Jones sat on the side of the room.

The meeting was to voice our concerns. There were a lot of problems to talk about.

The lady in 209, Rena Jones, reported that she still had lead in her apartment. She said she had been reporting it for years now. Now the school was threatening to expel her 6 year old because of his behavior in school.

Her one year old hasn’t learned to crawl yet. She has taken them to Mt. Sinai Hospital numerous times and has the medical reports for same. Bailey said he would talk to her after the meeting. When the meeting got heated and a couple of women got into a loud argument, Bailey left without saying good-bye. I was watching him.

I’ve been checking with Rena Jones, my neighbor, and Bailey hasn’t contacted her yet. I made a call to Bailey myself but he was unavailable to comment before my deadline.

The officials at the meeting had all of the tenants fill out forms listing the damages to our apartments. A man in our crowd said we were tired of filling out forms with nothing ever done about it. But this time they promised action. Nothing has been done yet.

The meeting got heated when Ericka Hill, one of the service connectors, and a woman who works in the management office got into an argument about getting the names of the people who were served eviction notices.

Hill wanted the names so they could get the residents being evicted some help. Then Green, the building president, ended the meeting. I sat there until 8 p.m. and then left.

Green resided in apartment 403 at the time. A new apartment was fixed for her and she has moved into it.

The residents also complained about the rats and roaches. They have exterminators come around and spray for roaches but they give you sticky paper to get rid of your rats. It doesn’t work.

I finally bought some spackle and sealed the holes in my apartment myself. Last year, I tried to get a phone but got no connection. I finally called for a repairman. He came and found that the wires were dead. He went into the basement but returned and told me that the rats were too big. I still don’t have a phone.

The next day after the meeting, I started to go around taking pictures. First, I took pictures of the floor in the Service Connector’s office. The water runs down the wall into the bottom of the sink cabinet and on to the floor. Hill said Mondays are the worst because the water runs onto the floor all weekend and is completely covered after the weekend.

Next, I took pictures of black mold all along the top of Rosalyn Dorman’s window. She has mold in her bathroom too. She informed me that I should go to 309 and look at the mold. I did.

That’s when Dorman told me she had been reporting this to management for over five years. She has also been supplying management with the medical records of her allergic reactions to it. I read in the property manager’s protectors that black mold, also known as Stachybotrys, is a serious problem and tenants can sue their landlord because of it.

It can cause bronchitis and sinusitis. It aggravates other allergies and causes asthmatic conditions. It also increases their risk of osteopenia and tuberculosis.

Worst of all, a 13 year old is in Mt. Sinai because of the bad conditions I wrote about in the last issue. Children are not allowed to play on the galleries just outside their apartments and the playground is dangerous. Now the children have been pushed into playing in the street. This 13-year-old girl was hit by a car July 6 on Fairfield Street, the side street between Ogden Courts and Schwaab Rehabilitation Center.

Both of her legs are broken, and her liver and kidney were crushed. But she’s alive. Her mother told me she was going to have to have steel rods put into both legs in order for them to heal correctly.

I was in her apartment to take pictures of the bullet hole in her window. The bullet went through the refrigerator door and lodged in the back.

Her walls have the paint bubbling off the wall and her bathroom ceiling looks almost as bad as mine did. And she has mold too. The management fixed a broken window in her apartment but not the one with the bullet hole in it. They said they didn’t have the larger size and would get back to her but never did.

This reminds me of the tales my grandmother used to tell me about the slave days. We lived in row houses and the master could come in any time and do anything he wanted.

As a race, we fight each other cause we’re all that’s there.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Categories: Uncategorized

Welcome, leave a comment: