Downtown Cleveland low-income apartment tenants fed up with renovation issues
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Some tenants living in Winton Manor told 19 News ever since renovations started about a year ago, living there has been a nightmare.
Winton Manor is a low-income apartment building in downtown Cleveland made up of mostly elderly and disabled residents.
Audrey Douthard has been living in Winton Manor for three years.
She said everything was fine until about a year ago.
“If I could financially, I definitely would move,” Douthard admitted. “Since this renovation process beforehand there was no issues. I had no issues, none but since this renovation has started it’s been nothing but issues day in and day out. Every day something new sometimes two or three times a day something new, it’s just if I had the money to move I definitely would.”
She said just this weekend she had no hot water.
She said it is a common problem.
She’s also been without heat and AC and even was injured when part of her flooring opened up.
She said it took seven months before it was repaired.
“Walked into my kitchen where I can show you the area, but it’s glued down now the area was open,” recalled Douthard. “Not paying attention had on my house slippers and stepped down onto the part that was opened and Dwight my slippers and I hit my shoulder against the refrigerator right there. So, then I ended up with a big bruise, I knew it wasn’t open but ended up being pretty bruised up.”
About a month ago, her bedroom flooded and one of her medical machines was damaged.
“My whole entire bed was flooded you can literally see the water up underneath my mattress because that’s how it sank through so the machine that’s sitting on top also got damaged,” she said.
She said the property management company replaced her mattress and promised to replace her machine, but it’s been over a month, and she hasn’t received it.
During this renovation process, residents are also asked to leave their apartments from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
They’re supposed to receive 24 hours’ notice, but residents told 19 News that doesn’t always happen.
“They say okay we’ll be in your unit tomorrow and then they don’t show up and then they show up two days later and expect you to accommodate them, but a lot of people here don’t have family or any place to go,” explained another resident, LaTonia Morgan. “So, if they make arrangements for when you said you were gonna be there and you don’t show up now two days later where are they going?”
Morgan is in a wheelchair and lives there too.
“I’ve had mold and mildew on my windows and air conditioner unit, and I had to go stay in a hotel for over a month because of my compromised immune system and not being able to breathe in that,” Morgan said.
She said she hasn’t had any water in her kitchen for four months.
“They haven’t done anything,” Morgan said. “First we were told because I’m not the only tenant that is experiencing this, first we were told that we have water in the bathroom so it’s not a big deal. I’m not able to take a pot of water from the bathroom and take it to my kitchen or boil water for even that matter I mean I have limited mobility and so I’m just not capable of doing that.”
Morgan also had no hot water this weekend.
“I’m beyond frustrated especially after this weekend,” she said. “I’m beyond frustrated I just feel like that regardless of what type of building this is we all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and it’s inhumane the way we’ve been treated.”
Evergreen Real Estate is the property management company.
19 News spoke with Executive Vice President John Kennedy over the phone.
He said it’s a huge project and it’s been challenging especially because of the condition of the building and because so many of the residents are elderly and disabled.
In a statement, Kennedy said, “There have been short-term hurdles and disruptions for the residents for sure, and in these cases, we have worked in good faith to accommodate their needs and concerns. Our goal and commitment is to improve the lives of our residents. We are certain that, when the work is completed, all our residents will appreciate the end result.” Residents aren’t so sure.
“I honestly don’t believe that,” said Douthard. “I honestly believe that as of right now that’s easy for them to say they’re not understanding how our lives are turned upside down.”
“There needs to be some accountability,” Morgan said. “We’ve been patient enough. We would love to at the end of this everything works out, but we don’t see that happening because again they haven’t done anything that they promised us from the beginning that they would do.”
19 News asked the property management company when the project will be completed.
We’re told the majority of the work will be completed in the next couple of months.
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