INDIANAPOLIS — The community is taking a stand against a north side apartment complex.
Things are starting to change at Lakeside Pointe at Nora. The health department continues to follow up on existing orders at the complex, and now community members are coming together by working to make sure that everyone who lives there has a safe and clean living environment.
"They're really victimizing people," Ruth Hayes, president of the Nora North Side Community Council Inc., said.
The group forcuses on orderly growth and development in Nora, but Hayes is leading the council down a different path.
"I wanted to make sure they were willing to step into a new level of advocacy and they feel very strongly about it," she said.
Hayes wants to put pressure on the ownership and management of Lakeside Pointe.
"All we can do is build community concern to the point where the owners will have to do something," she said.
The complex was granted tax exempt status in 2007, a status ownership no longer has to prove it deserves, and Hayes said it can be appealed. She wants to pressure the complex to resolve the unhealthy conditions inside.
"We're not asking for palatial digs," she said.
Hayes just wants the residents, many of whom are refugees and immigrants, to enjoy a basic standard of living free from unsanitary conditions.
Laura Valadez said she worked for Lakeside Pointe at Nora for three years before she recently quit.
"I couldn't take it anymore," Valadez said. "It was too much."
Valadez said she was forced to move people into apartments she didn't think anyone should have to live in.
"Last time I transferred someone with the mold," she said. "The whole building smelled like mold. I felt so bad."
Valadez said all orders came from one man, asset manager Aaron Hirsch.
Hirsch lives in Lakewood, N.J., but several employees said he often checks on the property.
"The way he talks to people, he's scary," Valadez said. "He's a scary man."
Hayes hopes someone who will care about the residents of Lakeside Pointe will take over.
"Or we can put enough pressure on the owners that they either get it cleaned up or sell it to somebody who will," Hayes said.
The Marion County Public Health Department said four buildings at Lakeside Point at Nora now have hot water after weeks without.
The health department continues to follow up on, "existing orders for the property owner to achieve compliance with those violations."
LAKESIDE POINT SERIES
March 22: Major health concerns at north side Indianapolis apartment complex
March 26: Residents say an apartment complex on north side of Indianapolis is unhealthy
April 1: Health Department blames owner for apartment conditions
April 18:Unhealthy conditions fester at north side apartment complex
May 2: Problem-ridden apartment complex pays no property taxes