Mayor Pete calls for improvements in public housing

NOW: Mayor Pete calls for improvements in public housing

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Those living at South Bend Housing Authority properties are fed up, and so is the mayor.

This week Mayor Pete Buttigieg is calling for reform saying the issues at the properties are “top priority” that will receive special attention from his office.

He laid out all of the issues in a letter he presented to the South Bend Housing Authority’s board of commissioners Wednesday night. He said he’s seen issues with bed bugs and roaches for himself.

“My awareness of these issues has arisen form a combination of sources, including residents who have come to my office seeking help with unaddressed problems, direct input from my administration’s department heads on their interactions with the Housing Authority, and my own observations from both formal interactions with HASB leadership and informal visits to HASB properties in the course of my circulation through the community as mayor,” Buttigieg said in the letter.

Now, tenants are speaking up about the problems.

“I seen bed bugs, I seen roaches, I seen mices running all through my apartment,” Clifford Bailey said, a resident at the Rabbi Albert M. Shulman Complex run by the Housing Authority. “I have asked them a number of times to do something about the bugs in my apartment, they say they gonna get somebody to come out, they never came out, when they do come out they shoot a little in the cabinet and it walks outta they, it doesn’t treat nothing.”

These are problems residents say are not being addressed properly. One resident is unable to use his bathroom sink because his pipes have rusted over – A problem he said he brought to management’s attention six months ago.

“I been in this building 20 years, I moved in here September the 30 1999 and in 20 years I have never had my carpet changed and that was the issue when I moved in here,” Eileen Wade said. She is also a resident at the Shulman Complex.

The issues are not only inside of personal units but with basic amenities. Residents said they’ve waited a year to be able to access their mailboxes.

“We’re still getting our mail shoved under our door whenever maintenance gets around to wanting to do it and the negligence is beyond gross,” Gary May said, who lives at the Shulman Complex.

Miatrust between staff and residents is another problem Mayor Buttigieg addressed in his letter. He said residents told him they feared reprisal if they speak out about the conditions.

“It’s outta control,” Bailey said. “You got people that’s living here that’s scared to come down here and say anything to [ABC57] cause they scared they’re gonna get evicted.”

The South Bend Housing Authority was reached out to for comment on the issues, but a response was not received by the time of publication.

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