WILLIAMSON – The Williamson Housing Authority (WHA) responded to recent complaints issued by residents at both the Goodman Manor and Liberty Heights apartment complex.
The Williamson Daily News has received phone calls concerning rats in the Goodman Manor. Pauline Sturgill, Executive Director of the Williamson Housing Authority said, “I spoke with our maintenance department about your question on rats. We don’t have rats at the Goodman Manor, nor mice. We do have bedbugs on occasion, which we immediately respond to when discovered.”
Sturgill also discussed the feral cat problem that persists in the city of Williamson. The issue of feral cats has been brought up at Williamson City Council meetings on a variety of occasions. “There are a dozen or so feral cats around Goodman Manor that others in the community feed. I have received tenant complaints about the cats, just this past week in fact. It seems that the cats are spraying the tenants’ car tires and sleeping under the vehicles. I don’t know who it is that feeds the cats. We clean up paper plates daily, that blow into our parking lot, from the empty lot behind Goodman manor, where the cats are fed by a stranger,” Sturgill explained.
John Blankenship, a single father that resides with his two children in the Liberty Heights Apartment Complex, discussed flooding occurring at his apartment. Blankenship is a laid off coal miner that lives in the apartment through HUD housing.
According to Blankenship, his apartment as well as the apartments of three other residents has been flooded three times in the last two years. Blankenship states that several inches of water comes off the hill-side and into the apartment “every time there is a lot of rain.” He feels that the cause of the flooding is dirt and debris that is clogging the drain used to direct water off the hillside.
Blankenship claims that the rain damaged the floors as well as other personal property at his apartment.
“They (Williamson Housing Authority) won’t offer to help with the cleanup,” Blankenship stated.
“They told the Red Cross. They gave us some cleaning supplies,” Blankenship continued.
Blankenship also states that his renters insurance will not cover the damage “due to maintenance neglect.”
Sturgill responded saying, “Yes, the torrential rain storm we experienced this past week washed debris down from the mountain, blocking the storm drain behind a block of apartments at Liberty Heights. No one called our emergency maintenance number notifying us of the situation until that morning, after the water was pushed into the units. I understand at least one tenant was aware the drain was blocked but didn’t notify us. A maintenance staff member also lives in the adjacent building, but he was not notified of the emergency. He would have immediately responded.”
Sturgill continued stating, “That being said, yes, there was minimal flooding, the second occurrence since I became Executive Director in Jan. 2012. A few units did take in a couple of inches of water that our maintenance staff addressed and cleaned up that very morning. Red Cross also received a request for help and visited the site. The RC person informed our Director of Operations, Ted Hatfield that we did a good job with the cleanup. They left cleaning supplies for anyone who needed them.”
The importance of rental insurance and proper housekeeping was also addressed by Sturgill. “As it was reported to me, no one suffered real property damage except one family that has serious housekeeping issues. WHA maintenance staff helped this parent bag up all the clothes strewn across the floors. He lost a tablet to water damage that the kids had kicked under his couch. Tenants are told at lease signing that they should secure rental insurance for these kind of situations. It is not required they do so. Most opt to do without,” Sturgill explained.
Currently, the Williamson Housing Authority is working to find a way to redirect the water at the hillside behind the Liberty Heights Apartments.
“Please know, we contacted our architect to help us determine how to redirect the water, so that we don’t experience this situation again. We are sad that the storm drain clogged and that families had to experience the clean-up, but I believe that my staff responded quickly and appropriately,” Sturgill stated.
(Courtney Pigman is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)