ST. LOUIS – Two low-income tenants from Washington Apartments near Central West End are forced to look for new housing after the building’s air conditioning broke in May and has yet to be fixed.
“I call and call, but nobody tries to help the building, and it’s just been awful,” said Washington Apartments tenant, Georgia Johnson.
72-year-old Georgia Johnson has lived at Washington Apartments on and off for the last 24 years.
She’s on a fixed income, and she said the whole building had broken AC units for the last three months. Johnson said having no AC made it hard to survive and she had to rely on her daughter.
“She works and she has a sick daughter at home,” said Johnson. “I have to go to her house and I have to go to my niece’s house to stay cool.”
In the last few days, her electricity also went out resulting in the unit’s temperature rising to 89 degrees.
“The heat woke me up,” said Johnson.
Currently, her portable unit and fridge won’t work, leaving her with spoiled food.
“I’m going to have to call the food stamp people and see if I can get more food,” said Johnson.
Johnson has one working eye and is epileptic. She lives near Barnes Jewish Hospital.
“I have to go back and forth to the doctor down the street,” said Johnson.
Another tenant, Lorna Thomas suffers from asthma and COPD.
“I’m more in the lobby than I am in my apartment, and that’s every day!” said Washington Apartments tenant, Lorna Thomas.
Like Johnson, she’s forced to look for another place to live but said finding another section 8 home has been impossible.
“It’s so hot in there. Everybody in the building has portable air conditioning that ain’t doing nothing but burning up our electric bills,” said Thomas. “My electric bill is sky high since I started using this the last three months.”
Both have complained to management numerous times. They’ve been told parts will come in late August, a time they don’t have.
“We shouldn’t be suffering like this,” said Thomas.
Other residents confirmed their stories and said off camera they’ve had the same issues.
This letter was sent to tenants today:
To: All Residents of Washington Apartments
Re: Cooling Update & Tips
The letter is to update our residents about repairs to the cooling tower which went out of service in mid-May. We provided a portable air conditioning unit to each resident at that time. If you have any issues with your portable unit, please contact the management office.
A vendor has been selected to complete the repairs and the parts are on order. Repairs and necessary parts were ordered immediately following the outage. The necessary repairs will be made as soon as the parts are delivered. Our vendor estimated a 12-week time frame at the time parts were ordered in May due to supply chain issues. We are working to try and accelerate that delivery time if possible.
The Community Room will be open daily as an additional cooling area from 8:00 am -5:00pm with bottled water for our residents. We want to direct you to the following resources during this extreme temperature. Located throughout the building is a pamphlet on staying cool in the heat.
· Cooling Centers in the St. Louis Area (stlouis-mo.gov) – visit this site for a list of cooling stations
· Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) (stlouis-mo.gov) – visit this site for energy assistance
· Cool Down St. Louis at http://www.cooldownstlouis.org/
We want to thank you in advance for your patience and understanding during this time.