Richmond Co. commissioner to HUD: 'You wouldn't let animals stay like this'

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, July 12, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Folks living in Ervin Towers say their home is crumbling around them.

"I'm leaving. I am getting the hell out of here," said Calvin Hill, who has lived in the senior housing facility for several years.

Waltina Bryant, Ervin Towers association president, says, "Ceilings are falling in, mold and mildew is everywhere and there's leaks on the 10th floor."

"I told maintenance about it. They gave me a pan to put up there to catch it. It got too, too out of hand. I couldn't handle it," Hill said.

Maggie Jones, who has lived in the building longer than she can remember, says, "I'd like them to clean it up and fix my bathroom."

Jones' ceiling collapsed from the weight of water leaking within the building.

"I just think it's bad that the housing authority let this get to this point," said Richmond County Commissioner Marion Williams.

After seeing Jones' mold and mildew-infested apartment, collapsed bathroom ceiling and water-streaked walls, he says enough is enough.

"Mrs. Jones should not be staying in that apartment one more night," Williams said.

Residents say they have complained to HUD for years about the deplorable conditions but say little has been done to fix the problems.

News 12 spoke with HUD Executive Director Jacob Oglesby. He says a roofing contractor will be on site next week to evaluate the problem and determine if the roof needs to be patched or completely replaced.

"Well patching is not going to work this time," Williams said.

News 12 went up on the roof with a maintenance crew and asked how safe the roof was after discovering that it was water laden.

HUD officials says they inspect the building twice a year, but Williams has his doubts.

"Whoever inspected must have turned their head," he said.

News 12 asked Oglesby if Ervin Towers is structurally sound.

"Well, it's a concrete masonry building. Of course it's structurally sound," Williams said.

"You would not let animals stay like this,"Williams said.

Late Friday afternoon, News 12 spoke with Fire Chief Chris James. He says they inspected the building and found three apartments that pose potential fire hazards.

He says housing maintenance bleached Jones' apartment walls prior to their arrival and after News 12 left. He says there was still evidence of water leaking down walls and near electrical outlets.

He has ordered HUD officials to take immediate action to get Jones out of that apartment and into a safer place.


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