An elevator in a Willimantic apartment building for the elderly and disabled has been broken for months, leaving residents frustrated.
Resident, Cindy Skidd told Eyewitness News Reporter, Sujata Jain, that she has lived in the John Ashton Towers for several years, and recently, one of the two elevators in the building has been out-of-service for months.
"If this was a nursery school or a nursing home and this kind of neglect was going on,” said Skidd. “You can be sure there would have been arrests for negligence to seniors and handicapped."
Residents told Eyewitness News that they are worried in the event of an emergency. They reflected on a recent event in which an EMT had to race up the stairs to the 6th floor to respond to a call.
"We're not getting the answers that I feel we're entitled to. I pay rent here,” said resident, Walter Marino, who also resides in the John Ashton Towers.
The federally subsidized housing serves 100 disabled and elderly residents, and despite the Housing Authority building next door, residents said they feel overlooked and neglected.
Skidd noted to Eyewitness News that one of the two elevators has a memo for repair dated March 6th, and repairs were due March 30th.
"I want that elevator fixed. It will take six weeks,” said Skidd. “I want a brand-new elevator there and when you get that one done, put a brand-new elevator over there."
But, the repairs, as Eyewitness News learned, will take much longer than that. Eyewitness News made 2 attempts, once by phone and once in person, within 3 days to get information from the Housing Authority’s Executive Director, but the doors were locked.
Eyewitness News then contacted the Department of Housing and Urban Development, known as HUD, which said it will take 5 months to replace the elevator because the replacement is not covered by the Housing Authority’s current service contract, a caveat that HUD said they learned on Tuesday.
HUD said there are no guidelines for how many elevators are needed per resident.
"I would hope that the people who live in this building get the help or the consideration that they should get,” said Marino.
HUD said the Housing Authority must secure another contract to do the work, which could take 12 to 15 weeks, but work should begin after that. A tenants’ meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 7th, at 1:30 p.m. in the building’s common room.
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