Elderly and disabled residents forced out of apartments

13News Now Audrey Esther has the story

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Dozens of elderly and disabled residents who were evacuated from their apartment complex due to a broken water pipe say they’re uncertain when they'll be able to return.

The water pipe break is the latest in a number of Lakewood Plaza Apartment's ongoing maintenance issues, which also include the building at times not having hot water, air conditioning and electricity.

“It's horrible to step off your bed and into that kind of water,” says Lakewood Plaza Apartment’s resident, June Wright about the water that flooded her apartment and nearly fifty others two weeks ago.

As of Monday, she and many of those residents are still living in hotels.

“We were told that as of today we could not go back to our apartments, period,” Wright says.

So that maintenance crews can repair their rooms, but first the complex’s management asked residents to pack up their things and move any furniture away from the walls, which Wright says would be difficult for many of the elderly or disabled tenants.

“To me it's like elder abuse because they're not there trying to help them. They're just telling them this is what you're going to do and that's it, but I'm not one of those,” she says.

She’s also one of the few who didn’t sign a waiver that would release management from all liability if there's any damage to the tenant’s belongings.

“I think it's appalling that they would get them to tell them they had to do this and to sign this,” Wright says. “I think they need to have a moving company come in and pack us up. I think that's what HUD would want them to do.”

Staff members with Lakewood Plaza Associates, which manages the property for HUD, asked 13News Now to leave when we tried to ask them about the resident’s concerns. They were also not able to provide contact information for the property manager, Donna Hickman.

“That's my home,” says Wright and where she hopes to return to as soon as possible.

Many of the tenants are staying in an extended stay hotel, which management is reportedly paying for. They say it could be a month before crews finish repairing the building so the residents can return.


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