CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A call to action as senior citizens say their HUD-funded apartment building has not had a working laundry room since November of last year.
19 News caught up with the group at the Eliza Bryant Village Manor Apartments as the seniors demanded answers from the management.
The group says they feel hung out to dry by those who run the senior living facility, saying residents have received nothing but broken promises in the last nine months.
Lebertha Johnson, who is a member of the Tenant’s Council, confronted the Director of Housing, Val Marie Peoples in front of 19 News.
Johnson said, “Just be fair with us. You’re going to be a senior someday Ms. Peoples. You may not have to live in an apartment building, but somebody might have to help you.”
People’s responded by saying, “This was never my intention to make this such an inconvenience for them (the residents).”
Our 19 News camera captured video of one washer in a second-floor hallway – unplugged and unusable to the nearly 60 residents who live in the Manor Apartments. Even more washers and dryers were stored in the Activity Room, as the laundry facility sits in disrepair, needing plumbing and floor repairs.
88-year-old Mamie Jones says, “I have my limits. I can’t go from building to building every week or sometimes twice a week just to do laundry.”
She says others who have difficulty getting around feel forced to pay for someone to wash their clothes.
“There’s another resident on my floor; she’s been here for 21 years and just spent $25 to do laundry outside the facility,” Jones said.
The Director of Housing tells 19 News there eleven laundry facilities in the Garden Estate (building) just steps away, and there are also three laundry facilities at the lodge. But tenants tell me they don’t have keys or direct access to those other facilities, and it’s difficult for many in wheelchairs and on canes to cart their laundry over to another building.
Lebertha Johnson of the Tenant’s Council says they’re fed up and demand an exact date of when the laundry room will be back in service. They want answers those answers from Peoples. “We’ve been given specific dates, nothings been done. You won’t even call us back,” Johnson said.
So 19 News asked their own questions, including why seniors are forced to wait so long for a working laundry facility when that’s supposed to be included in their rent.
Peoples’ says, “With the COVID situation and the pandemic, we have been sort of handicapped in getting the work done as quickly as we would have liked.”
People’s says because of the costly repairs needed, HUD had to put the work out for bid, and the initial contractor became ill and died earlier this year. But tenants say they have seen no effort to fix the facility even after that happened.
“To answer your question I do believe we should have it completed by the 15th of September.
B & E Repair is now contracted to do the work and because of plumbing issues and an unstable floor, Peoples says the cost has gone up from $5,000 to more than $13,000.
Cleveland Councilman Basheer Jones who represents Ward 7 issued a statement to 19 News saying, “Our seniors are one of the most powerful treasures that we have in our community. I’m concerned that our residents are not being taken care of. I’m looking forward to Eliza Bryant’s plan to fix this issue. I’ve had a dialogue with the CEO about this and I’m sure the board will not be happy about what’s taking place. I hope to see changes very soon.”
Stay with 19 News for any further developments in this story.