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City of Indianapolis hires temporary maintenance workers for public housing as requests pile up

Posted at 7:08 PM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 07:47:50-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis public housing residents say they're tired of piles of trash, rodents, and faulty air conditioning.

The Indianapolis Housing Agency says maintenance requests are piling up.

To provide some relief to IHA residents, Mayor Joe Hogsett said the Metropolitan Development Commission will vote on Wednesday to give the housing agency $250,000 to hire 16 temporary maintenance workers.

"We have maintenance needs that have been going on for years since I've been here. I've been here going on 6 years," Barton Towers Chaplain Eric Hibler said.

Hibler lives at Barton Towers.

WRTV was there as crews were on-site, repairing the A/C that residents say was out less than 24 hours ago.

"We've been having air conditioning problems, it goes out and it comes back on we have to call to have them come back out. We have residents who are disabled and they can't maneuver and come out so staying in the hot apartment is not going to solve anything. It's going to make matters worse," Hibler said.

Hibler and several residents across the street at Barton Annex are frustrated with the lack of maintenance workers available for repairs or to fix the conditions they're living in.

"My concern is the mice, the roaches, and the mold. We have mold in there bad," resident Selena Ice said. "When you catch ten mice on traps every two to three days, that's a problem."

IHA says it has four maintenance workers handling 1,600 units at multiple properties.

"This is an ongoing thing. We are not getting anything done in this building that needs to be done. We pay our little rent every time," resident Stephanie Musa said.

Vice President of Barton Tower's resident organization Nina Himes, said residents are thankful the city is stepping in to help, but since it's only temporary it's not solving their problems.

"We don't need no short-term. We don't. We need something long-term. They can't keep waiting and waiting for something to get done that's wrong," Himes said.

Hogsett said the city is looking for new leadership for the housing agency.

"We lost the old executive director. The current interim ex-director is working as hard as she can to address some of these needs, but from the very beginning, she made it very clear to me that she is an interim director, not a permanent one. So, the city is to take it upon itself to find steady progressive leadership for the future," Hogsett said.

Hogsett has these messages for residents.

"You've been subjected in many cases to conditions that no one should have to endure and the city hears your concerns loud and clear. We are taking immediate action this afternoon to the tune of $250,000. I'll direct the board to listen to some other longer-term solutions to some of the systemic problems that have faced the agency and hopefully we will get it turned around in a meaningful way, not just for the residents but for the city as well," he said.

Hogsett said residents could start seeing work orders being fulfilled as early as July 1.

Indianapolis Housing Agency's Interim Executive Director, Marcia Lewis, sent this statement:

"The Indianapolis Housing Agency is very excited and appreciative of the City’s support in its efforts to provide improved services to its clients/customers. It is great to know that positive change can occur. It is but one of the many ways that Mayor Hogsett has shown support for these efforts. IHA is in turn working with Mr. Ish Moorman and his vocational residential and apartment maintenance training program AC/C Tech to obtain quality candidates who will receive higher pay to work as direct contractors with the agency, receive valuable on-the-job training, and provide much-needed maintenance support and services for our clients."

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