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Indianapolis, Citizens Energy reach agreement to restore water for southside apartment residents

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Posted at 5:19 PM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 17:54:00-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The water is back on for hundreds of people who live at two southside apartment complexes after the city of Indianapolis stepped in to help.

The office of Mayor Joe Hogsett reached a deal with Citizens Energy this afternoon to restore running water at Berkley Commons and Capital Place apartments.

Utility crews shut off the water Thursday since the management group, Aloft, which officials say is also owned by the nonprofit JPC had very large unpaid, past-due utility bills.

Citizens Energy said it never managed to reach a payment arrangement with the property owner.

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Adam Niemiec, who lives at Berkley Commons, said not having running water has been a nightmare.

"It's just bad. It's horrible," said Adam Niemiec.

His thoughts were echoed by another resident, Jeramy Eversole.

"We went and bought a bunch of water from the store, and we been filling the tanks on the toilets so we can keep them flushing, and water and stuff for washing our hands and doing dishes because it came out of nowhere," Eversole said.

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The Marion County Public Health Department had 150 porta-potties, 70 sinks and around 50 sanitizing stations placed throughout both complexes Friday to ease the burden on residents.

Affected residents carried water buckets on their heads and shared water bottles with neighbors.

Perry Township School counselors and staff were also on-site helping students in need of water and showers.

"We had 700 school-age children that were impacted by the water being turned off. 700 Perry Township students," said Jorie Depalma, a school social worker at Southport High School.

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On Thursday, the Health Department issued the management property two citations each for both properties for failing to provide water to tenants. The department began filing the citations in court Friday with fines up to $2,500 each.

Residents want to know how this could happen when utilities are paid with their rent.

"That's the most irritating thing where did my money go? We pay money every month for our water and whose got it I'd like to know who's got it," said Niemiec.

The mayor's office says it's pleased it can restore the water service and it plans to use every resource available to hold the property owner of these complexes responsible.

"I would like to say thank you to them for bailing everybody out here because there is a lot of women and children here who needed water and they need to do something about Aloft management and the owners of this place," said Eversole.

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"Thank you for looking out for us because obviously, this place doesn't care," Niemiec.

Residents with housing complaints or concerns may contact the Marion County Public Health Department through the department's websiteor by calling 317-221-2150.

The city says by working with the Marion County Public Health Department, partners, and the community it will ensure residents have access to basic services and stable housing moving forward.

Mayor Joe Hogsett released the following statement:

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement to restore service to tenants. By working with the Marion County Public Health Department, partners, and the community we will ensure residents have access to basic services and stable housing moving forward. The City of Indianapolis plans to use every resource at our disposal to hold the property owner of these complexes responsible for putting tenants in these harmful and dangerous conditions.”