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21 units deemed unsafe by Housing Authority at Anderson apartment complex; announces end for Section 8 vouchers

Bingham Square Apartments says the decision to stop accepting Section 8 vouchers came from corporate.
Posted at 12:23 AM, Oct 16, 2021

ANDERSON — Earlier this week, WRTV showed you some of the unresolved issues residents are dealing with at Bingham Square Apartments in Anderson.

Residents there shared that mold, leaks, and unstable floors are a problem. Now, more than a dozen families face losing their homes.

21 units failed inspection and the complex says it will no longer accept Section 8 housing payments from the Anderson Housing Authority.

WRTV spoke with the Housing Authority's CEO Kimberly Townsend who said the complex is trying to retaliate against residents."You just can't put band-aids on things like this especially when you are handling federal dollars," Townsend said.

Anderson Housing Authority said it forks out around $120,000 a year for its tenants there and expects the property to make sure living conditions are safe.

"The idea is you get your money on time every month no matter what and that you invest back into the property with these funds," Townsend explained.

She said a recent inspection at Bingham Apartments revealed all 21 of their tenant's units were unsafe. 11 units have emergency health and safety issues due to missing or inoperable smoke detectors, water leaks, no air conditioning, loose railings, and more.

Per federal requirements, the complex was told those issues needed to be fixed within 24 hours or payments will stop being issued to the property.

Townsend said inspectors were back on-site Friday, but property management told the housing authority they have not completed all the smoke detector installation, nor have they done any other repairs and they would not be doing any others.

Townsend explained the other 10 failed units have 30 days for repairs to be completed, but the complex sent notices to some of the Section 8 tenants who pay month-to-month, notifying them that they have until Nov. 30 to vacate or they will face eviction.

Bingham Square Apartment management told WRTV those with leases have until their lease is up, however, they will no longer accept Section 8 vouchers.

WRTV asked the on-site manager why and was told the decision came from corporate. We reached out to corporate and are waiting to hear back.

"It's not right for some people in here just trying to make it," Francie Steen, an apartment resident said. Steen is one of those who are directly impacted. She said the decision isn't fair.

"Winter is coming and they have to pack up and try to move. It's hard to find something, you know. I can't walk out my door and go find a house to move in so are they going to accept Section 8 vouchers? You don't know that," Steen added.

Townsend said one tenant has already moved into new housing. That leaves 20 families who now face losing their homes before the holidays. "By Nov. 30, whether it's through enforcement of the property or through the regulations we have to follow."

Townsend explained the housing authority is doing all it can to help. She believes retaliation is part of the apartment complex's decision along with money issues. "I think there are insufficient funds to do the repairs needed and I think the standards that we have to hold landlord and property managers are based on HUD requirements is too much for them to comply with," Townsend said. "You just can't chase rent, you have to develop a plan to place people in safe conditions while you work through problems. You don't want to just leave people there and you're collecting rent."

Other tenants who do not rely on Section 8 funding said they're dealing with mold, leaks, and broken glass. The Mayor of Anderson told WRTV earlier this week that he is working to hold the property owners accountable. The housing authority is holding a mandatory meeting for the impacted tenants on Monday.