CHICAGO (CBS) — Aggressive pest control, construction teams, and now a new property manager – those are a few of the changes underway at a federally-subsidized apartment complex where we’ve exposed mice, mold and mismanagement dating back years.
Now, CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas has caught up with a local HUD official to ask, why wasn’t something done sooner?READ MORE: Chicago Police Restrict Time Off For Officers Amid Battle Between City Hall, FOP Over COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
Contractors fix decades-old porches. They replace dirty carpets that have frustrated tenants for years.
“I would say it has been improvements in my opinion,” tenant Ashley Brown said.
But as the progress continues, many residents have wondered why did it take so long? Why didn’t the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD take action sooner?
“It’s a process, and we … people need to communicate with us,” said James Cunningham, who leads the local HUD office in Chicago. “I think the owner would say the same thing, it’s one that got away. and we’re not proud of that, but we want to make sure that we do right.”
One that got away, but we discovered HUD did inspect some of the units back in 2018.
They scored it a 94 out of 100, even though the City of Chicago found violations around that same time.READ MORE: Families Hold Vigil For Child Victims Of Gun Violence In Chicago, Call For Solutions
“Our REAC inspection process, it’s a random sample. It’s quite possible that there’s a code violation in one of the units we didn’t miss. It’s just a snapshot,” Cunningham said.
“We want this to be a model for the country,” said Cameron Barnes, national youth director for Rainbow/PUSH.
Barnes said Rainbow/PUSH has been flooded with calls from residents of other properties with similar complaints, and fears they could be evicted for complaining.
“I think it’s really important for residents to have that power to speak up because you know Tim, the safest place you should be is your home,” Barnes said.
“They live in fear they may be retaliated against and it’s just not the case,” Cunningham said.
At a vaccine drive last week, Cunninham thanked the tenants for speaking up.MORE NEWS: At Least 1 Person Killed, 7 Wounded In Weekend Gun Violence In Chicago
Now those tenants hope their courage leads to a long-term fix.