SCHUMER URGES FEDERAL DEPT. OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT TO IMMEDIATELY CONDUCT FULL, TOP-TO-BOTTOM INSPECTION OF LIVING CONDITIONS & MANAGEMENT OF THE TOWNE GARDEN APARTMENTS IN BUFFALO
Schumer Says Yesterday’s Limited Inspection of Federally-Subsidized Complex – Where HUD Looked at Approximately 5 of the 300+ Apartments to Assess What Residents Call ‘Deplorable’ Living Conditions – Was Step in Right Direction; However, Schumer Says HUD Must Do More to Address Situation With Comprehensive Inspection
Tenants Report Broken Toilets, Leaking Roofs, Mold, Not Enough Heat, Un-shoveled Snow, Inoperable Parking Lot Lights – Worst of All, A Sewer Back-Up This Past Fall Destroyed an Apartment and Was Not Cleaned For Over a Week
Schumer: Living Conditions Pose Serious Health, Safety & Security Concerns, and Residents and their Families Deserve Better – HUD Should Promptly Inspect Entire Complex And Order Fixes to Disturbing Quality-of-Life Violations
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the living conditions and management of the Towne Garden Apartment complex in Buffalo. Schumer explained that residents of the federally-subsidized apartment building have complained of broken toilets, mold, leaking roofs, not enough heat, and parking lot lights that have been inoperable for months. The United States Postal Service was forced to stop delivering mail at one point this winter due to unplowed pathways that proved hazardous for postal employees. Worst of all, Schumer said that a sewer backed up into one woman’s apartment and it was not cleaned up for over a week, forcing her to live with raw sewage in her bathtub and on her floor. Schumer said these conditions have been described as “deplorable” and it is high-time HUD do a full review to find solutions to these problems and poor living conditions and persistent code violations at the complex.
Schumer said that the limited review HUD preformed yesterday – where staff investigated conditions at five of the 302 federally subsidized apartments – was a step in the right direction, however more must be done. Schumer urged HUD to perform a more in-depth inspection as soon as possible.
“We need the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to be the cop on the beat when it comes to protecting vulnerable families and seniors at this federally-subsidized complex. HUD must do a top-to-bottom inspection of the numerous quality-of-life and health complaints by tenants and order improvements ASAP,” said Schumer. “The mini-inspection by HUD is a first step in the right direction, but more in-depth inspection is needed to fix the allegations of sub-standard living conditions at this complex,” said Schumer.
Schumer explained that the Towne Gardens complex in Buffalo is federally subsidized and has been documented for health and safety code violations for months. Schumer said that while the complex received a just-passing grade of 81b on their Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) assessment in 2014 – and therefore the next planned assessment is not scheduled until 2016 – circumstances at Towne Gardens clearly warrant more immediate action from HUD. Schumer said he has been contacted by a number of constituents and community leaders complaining of the complex’s “deplorable” conditions. As a result, he is urging HUD to do a top-to-bottom review of the apartment building’s conditions to explore possible health, safety and security solutions.
Schumer said Buffalo HUD’s office management and occupancy review is a step in the right direction. However, Schumer said he believes the fact that they were only able to investigate five units is not enough to address the sub-standard living conditions. Schumer said this limited inspection likely did not give the full picture of the multitude of negative quality-of-life issues residents are experiencing, and, therefore, is urging HUD to promptly schedule and conduct a more comprehensive inspection of the complex as soon as possible.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to HUD appears below:
Dear Secretary Castro,
In response to numerous complaints from my constituents, I write regarding the sub-standard living conditions and multiple code violations at the Towne Gardens apartment complex in Buffalo, New York. This complex is federally subsidized, and I am urging the federal department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to do a full, top-to-bottom inspection of the living conditions at the property and management review as soon as possible. It is my understanding that in 2014 the complex received a just-passing grade of 81b on their Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) assessment, and therefore the next planned assessment is not scheduled until 2016. However, I think recent circumstances at Towne Gardens – including numerous documented code violations – warrant more immediate action from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
I have been contacted by a number of constituents and community leaders about issues at Town Gardens over the past few weeks. Some of the complaints include broken toilets, leaking roofs, not enough heat in the winter, and parking lot lights that have been inoperable for months. This past winter, the United States Postal Service stopped delivering mail to the complex because the snow was not shoveled, creating a hazard for postal workers. Imagine what this was like for the residents. Perhaps worst of all, this past October, a sewer backed up into one of the apartments and was not cleaned up for over a week. A woman was living with raw sewage in her bathtub and on her floor, according to local leaders and media reports. These living conditions, which include some serious health, safety and security concerns, are unacceptable.
The local office of HUD performed a management and occupancy review on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and I appreciate their efforts to hear from the residents and investigate their complaints. However, I believe that they were only able to investigate approximately five units of the 302 that are federally subsidized, and they were only able to meet with constituents during limited hours. This limited inspection likely did not give the full picture of the multitude of negative quality-of-life issues residents are experiencing, and, therefore, I urge HUD to promptly schedule and conduct a comprehensive inspection of the complex.
If you should have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
Previous Article Next Article