INDIANAPOLIS — The housing problem in Anderson now involves more than one apartment complex.
In addition to the 21 families with Section 8 housing vouchers at the Bingham Square Apartments, there are also five other families with Section 8 housing vouchers at the Madison Square Apartments. Both apartment complexes are owned by Property Resources Associates, which is no longer accepting Section 8 housing vouchers at either complex.
Kim Townsend, the CEO of Anderson Housing Authority, says she has not received a formal notification that the company will no longer accept vouchers, however, she learned about it through tenants who received notices, as well as through a legal representative for the City of Anderson.
Now she and AHA staff are working to find places for 26 families to live.
“Where will people go? That’s what is keeping me up at night,” said Townsend.
Tenants who live at the Madison Square Apartments say they have experienced similar issues to the ones at Bingham Square. Townsend said they have received complaints from tenants at Madison Square and she is sending inspectors to the units next week.
Karheisha Dupree-Hamlett lives at Madison Square Apartments. She says her unit has mold, loose wires hanging out of the ceiling, and a drain so backed up that she can’t do her laundry.
“Where do I begin, a lot is going on here,” Dupree-Hamlett said. “My furnace went out a little while ago and they told me they were waiting on a part, waiting on a part, waiting on a part, now we're going to get into winter. Are we still waiting on a part? How am I going to get some heat?"
Tori Smith’s sister moved into the complex back in April. She said her sister is one of five tenants on Section 8 housing there.
She was told her voucher is no longer accepted and she needs to find somewhere else to live by the end of November.
“Her plan is to find another apartment," Smith said. "She’s been calling different apartments to try and find a place to stay but most of them are filled and they have no vacancies right now so she’s still looking and waiting for a vacancy."
The lack of vacancies is an issue Townsend is running into as well, along with landlords who don’t want to take on Section 8 housing tenants.
“There are a lot of stereotypes around this program and there is involvement with this agency and some people would rather just have private pay situations occur,” said Townsend, "I can't make properties or landlord take the clients but I can only ask that they will give it a chance and work with us."
Townsend said the community has stepped up to help. She has found some landlords who want to work with her on the issue.
A nonprofit has also come forward to help move residents and provide transportation to people as they go and look at new housing options.
Townsend says that of the 11 units at Bingham Square deemed in need of emergency repair, some maintenance has been performed on five of them, including ensuring they have working smoke detectors.
WRTV reached out to the property manager of both Bingham Square and Madison Square. The property manager did not want to speak to us and referred us to a corporate number for Property Resource Associates. We left a message and have not heard back. We also emailed the corporate email address. These efforts are in addition to efforts made last week to contact the owners of the company.
Townsend is encouraging people who are being displaced to apply to AHA public housing, even if it means joining a waitlist.
She also says she’s working to step up efforts on other projects the housing authority has in the works.
Right now, they are working to convert a building into 21 one-bedroom units and seven studios. The project is called Lincolnshire, with the hope that it will be completed next fall.
Additionally, they have a site where they are working to build affordable housing called Linwood. When it is completed it will offer more than100 affordable housing units. The hope is that this project will be completed in the next two years.