Residents of the Fifth Ward apartment say conditions in their homes are deplorable
FOX 26 reporter Damali Keith spoke to residents who are fed up with the conditions in their apartment complex in Houston’s Fifth Ward.
HOUSTON – Some Houston residents plan to go before the City Council tomorrow saying they live in appalling conditions in Fifth Ward.
Residents who live in the Cleme Manor Apartments say they’re dealing with everything from rodents to bed bugs to raw sewage dams, and city officials are paying attention because the complex’s owner is asking the city for millions of dollars to build even more Houston housing.
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“In this particular situation, NHP was a bad player on every level,” said Houston City Council member Letitia Plummer. The NHP Foundation is the company that owns the Cleme Manor Apartments in Fifth Ward. “They’re backed by the HUD, which means they’re checked every month at the beginning of the month,” adds Plummer.
Resident Stacy Tillman says she has been battling bed bugs.
“I got rid of my furniture and replaced this,” she said, before naming other pests. “Well, cockroaches. At first I had mice, but I took care of all that on my own.”
Tillman added that she struggled with a host of other health issues while staying at Cleme Manor.
“When I stayed more back in 273, it was a plague of rats. It was really, really bad,” says Cleme Manor resident Josefa Najera.
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Another resident says she and several neighbors were recently left behind to clean up raw sewage.
“It came out of the toilet and the tub and it overflowed and it went into all the rooms, the living room. It went everywhere. The water from the window flooded everywhere,” explains resident Saveor Hagan.
“It’s still going. We checked the records, the 311 calls. Over the past 24 months, there have been over 11 calls to the health department,” adds Councilwoman Plummer.
She says there have been 75 to 311 calls against Cleme Manor over the last ten years, not including complaints to the state and county.
“From a habitability and health perspective, that’s a lot of calls and that they never did anything to rectify the situation. They’re bad actors as far as I’m concerned,” adds Plummer.
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NHP boasts on its website that it owns 52 properties in 15 states, including four complexes here in Houston.
The company went before the Houston City Council just last week hoping to get millions of dollars to build a fifth here in Houston.
“This property is subsidized by both the city and county, and we voted to allocate more than $18 million to build this particular property,” Plummer said of NHP’s proposed property.
That vote is now suspended until this week.
“Until we get something enforceable, there’s no way I can stand behind this vote,” Plummer said.
Councilwoman Letitia Plummer has drafted an ordinance to “reform housing inspection” in hopes of addressing the same issues affecting hundreds of homes in the area.
The NHP Foundation submitted the following statement:
“We are very grateful to Mayor Turner and several other council members for their support of the Magnificat supportive housing development. We are working hard to gain the trust of the other council members by providing them with additional information and we will be meeting with several of them to answer any questions.
As a provider of quality, affordable housing in Houston, we take residents’ concerns very seriously and will continue to do what we can to resolve any issues.”