ST. LOUIS – Help has arrived for some seniors who feel stranded in a St. Louis apartment building because the elevators are broken, a development the FOX Files has reported on since Wednesday.
Dozens of volunteers are bringing food, water and other supplies to residents at the Roosevelt Towne Apartments who need assistance, according to James Clark, the Vice President of Public Safety and Community Response for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.
“[They’re] going door-to-door from floor-to-floor, knocking on the door, and engaging the residents to see what their needs are,” Clark said.
The elevators have been broken at the apartment building for roughly three weeks.
“There’s definitely an immediate need in this building,” Ward 10 Alderwoman Shameem Clark Hubbard said.
According to the St. Louis Department of Public Safety, volunteers with the Department of Human Services staff and others checked on 75 residents and distributed 48 emergency food boxes on Friday.
“People are in need. You can see the wear and tear. You can see how not being able to get out has really caused them a certain amount of distress,” Clark said.
Clark said they will be checking on residents over the weekend and into next week.
Earlier this week, the FOX Files shared William Darty’s story. He and his wife are unable to use the steps.
“The only way for me to get down is the elevator, and I’m disabled,” Darty said. “I go to rehab to exercise three days a week, I can’t do that. I’m really trapped in here.”
Darty stood in his stairwell windows, pleading for help.
“My food is very scarce now. I have no way of bringing food in,” Darty said.
The 10th Ward alderwoman said St. Louis saw Darty.
“St. Louis absolutely saw him, we also felt him,” Shameem Clark Hubbard said.
She calls what’s happening at the Roosevelt Towne Apartments inhumane and heartbreaking. Clark Hubbard met with residents of the building Friday, including Darty.
“Him and his wife, 43 years in this building, since it was open. I felt at home. They welcomed me right in. I sat at the kitchen table. My takeaway is whatever they need,” she said.
The alderwoman said she had no idea about the elevator issues until the FOX Files brought it to her attention.
“I’ll be honest, I first heard about this problem through you, right. I hadn’t had contact with the building, or the Building Division,” Clark Hubbard said.
St. Louis Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Nicole Franklin said the city had been in contact with building management to address the issue.
“The City has previously sent a violation notice to the property owner in connection with this issue,” Franklin said. “As we remain in communication with the property owner to ensure accountability, an elevator company has been identified, and we are monitoring their progress.”
An elevator repair crew arrived on Thursday, after St. Louis saw William in the window.
“That’s a response and reaction to the work that you’re doing and the work that everybody else has done to get the word out,” Clark Hubbard said.
The elevator operated for an hour, but the repair crew said it started to overheat, and an air conditioning crew had to be called in.
As of Friday evening, one of the elevators started operating again.
According to records from the Missouri Secretary of State, the ownership of Roosevelt Towne Apartments belongs to River City Affordable Housing, LLC, with a St. Louis address. Interestingly, the LLC’s Board of Directors has members residing in various locations across the United States, including Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, and Norwalk in California, as well as in St. Petersburg, Florida.
In a paragraph-long message to residents, property managers said they’re faced with many challenges in getting the elevators fixed.
Property management said it was doing what it could to get the elevators working again and “not ignoring this emergency.”
“The companies that we have reached out to have all declined our request due to them not feeling safe on the property,” the letter from property management read. “We have contacted every elevator company in the St. Louis and St. Charles area. With the number of incidents that have happened at Roosevelt, we are constantly being declined.”
Emails seeking comment from the property’s management were not returned Thursday or Friday.
Clark Hubbard said Roosevelt Towne Apartments is not included in the city’s Housing Conservation Inspection program, which is designed to check for minimal interior code violations.
According to the city, 98% of St. Louis property is located in the housing conservation program, but Clark Hubbard wants to expand that to include other properties, like Roosevelt Towne Apartments.
“It’s going to be a legislative process but I’m on board. I think Alderman Browning is going to be introducing some legislation,” Clark Hubbard said.