Bug, mold infestation to be addressed at Alexander Oaks
Update and Clarification: Alexander Oaks is a public housing property, not Section 8 housing, managed by the Housing Authority of Travis County (HATC), not the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA). We are sorry for this error.
A family living in Section 8 housing is also living among insects and what they believe is mold. On Wednesday FOX 7 got involved, to assist the family in finally getting some help.
Alexander Oaks is a low-income housing property made up of 51 units. Several residents tell us when they have maintenance problems, they often go unheard.
On the outside it looks like a typical home, but the inside is a different story. Insects are crawling all over the kitchen.
"It gets so hot that roaches are just living in that area, in the corner. I spray it but it's still there," said Adelaida Jaimes.
There are more concerns throughout the bathroom.
"The whole ceiling from the back to the front of the door; mold, it's mold," said Jaimes.
Adelaida Jaimes and Christopher Hernandez say they've been asking for help for nearly a year. It wasn't until FOX 7 came to their house Wednesday that they say they were finally heard.
"Be publicized, they didn't want it. Publicity, it's probably what it is," said Jaimes.
The Housing Authority tells us they've never been informed of these problems. Between April 28, 2011 and May 9, 2014 the Housing Authority responded to seven work orders at the residence; however, none cited mildew/mold or an insect infestation.
"I've complained. They've seen it themselves when they've come in to do their every six month evaluation, so they've seen it," said Jaimes.
The Housing Authority says upon hearing about the issue Wednesday they immediately responded to repair the bathroom ceiling. They also plan to paint the bathroom and hire an exterminator.
"Twenty minutes. Twenty minutes for them to get here. This is the fastest for them to ever show up," said Jaimes.
The Housing Authority is also asking the family of five to do their part to keep things clean too. They aren't the only residents experiencing problems. Their next door neighbor, Endwandra Sheffield wants some help too.
"We have all this mold. I've cleaned it, I've cleaned it many of times," said Sheffield.
"I'm happy that something happened but did it have to take this?" said Jaimes.
The Housing Authority continues to dispute the claims.
The executive director said, "I have never received a call from Mr. or Ms. Jaimes to discuss the issues they presented to you. Therefore, I was unaware of the Jaimes' residence condition concerns; however, once notified, the authority immediately responded."
If residents have any maintenance problems, the Housing Authority encourages you call into the work order line so they will be completed and be on record.
Housing Authority released the following statement:
“The Housing Authority of Travis County policy is to provide public housing residences that are safe, sanitary, and physically maintained. The Housing Authority encourages its residents to report property conditions that need attention and has an established work order procedure to be responsive. Residents may call the work order line, leave their maintenance request, a work order is entered and produced for staff action, and the work order is closed upon completion of the requested action.
Regarding Ms. Adelaida Jaimes, the Housing Authority has responded to seven work orders between the period April 28, 2011 and May 9, 2014; however, none of the work orders cited mildew/mold or insect infestation. Upon hearing of these issues today, the Authority immediately began remedial work to address the bathroom ceiling condition and prepared work orders for painting the bath room and extermination services. The resident will also be notified in writing that housekeeping practices must improve to reduce the infestation potential.
The residents claim they are being evicted. That is untrue. No notice of eviction has been delivered to the residents. Mr. and Ms. Jaimes underwent an annual HUD mandated recertification in May to determine their eligibility for and terms upon which they may live at the public housing property. Certification issues were raised by the Authority staff which the residents have been asked to address. Some issues currently remain unresolved. The Housing Authority will continue its process of evaluating and confirming the information it receives to determine the residents' program eligibility and the rent they are required to pay.
I have never received a call from Mr. or Ms. Jaimes to discuss the issues they presented to you. Therefore, I was unaware of the Jaimes' residence condition concerns; however, once notified, the Authority immediately responded to the information provided by Ms. Noelle Newton, Fox News. While we continue to treat their residence for insects and finish painting the bathroom, we will also continue our expectation that they provide needed eligibility documentation. Only after examining all available information can a final determination be made regarding terms for the residents' continued eligibility. A resident maintains the right to appeal a staff decision regarding program eligibility in a Housing Authority grievance hearing. The grievance hearing decision may then be appealed to the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.
It is our desire that you concur the claims presented by Mr. and Ms. Jaimes are not grounded in fact. The Housing Authority has acted properly in addressing issues presented to it and in enforcing the occupancy requirements mandated by HUD.”