Northampton Media: “Salvo House Report”

Northampton Media recently published this report on conditions at Walter Salvo House:

Bloodstains in the hallway. Broken fire alarms. Sexual harassment in the dining room. These were just some of the maintenance and safety complaints that residents of the Walter Salvo House brought up to Ward 3 City Councilor-Elect Angela Plassmann at a tenants’ association meeting on December 8…

One of their biggest unmet needs is a safe, clean place to have a meal. Kahle said the dining room, which used to serve dozens of residents, is nearly empty now because Don Moran, the tenant who runs the kitchen as a volunteer, has been sexually harassing and threatening the women guests. Tenants’ association vice president Janet Pieraldi and secretary Carol Anderson, also at the Dec. 8 meeting, confirmed this with their own stories, including one incident where Moran allegedly threatened to cut a woman’s nipples off. Kahle said he’d brought this up repeatedly with John Lutz, the head of Highland Valley Elder Services, which runs the dining program, but Highland Valley has refused to remove Moran from his position…
Click for the full report

See also:

Northampton Media: “The Walter Salvo House: A Conversation with Housing Authority Director Jon Hite” (12/9/09)
Hite, in a telephone conversation with Northampton Media, acknowledged that work needs to be done at the Salvo House, but remarked that state subsidies for Massachusetts housing authorities have been reduced by 4% from last year. “Some of Plassmann’s points are right on,” said Hite. “and some of the issues she raises are being repaired on an ongoing basis—for instance, if ceiling tiles are damaged because of a plumbing overflow on the floor above, we replace them. There are bigger maintenance issues, but when an apartment becomes vacant, then we go through the whole place.”

Text of Plassmann Letter to Housing Authority Director Jonathan Hite (12/8/09)
Areas of water damage in several locations are in need of repair. In one area, located in the main meeting room, there are ceiling tiles missing and various pipes and wires are clearly visible. Some residents have reported water damage on the ceilings of their apartments that has not been repaired in years, despite repeated requests to Housing Authority staff.

Northampton Media: “Ward Three Councilor-Elect Angela Plassmann Takes on the Housing Authority” (12/7/09)

Northampton Redoubt: “Affordable Housing with a capital A” (12/6/09)
…some might think we don’t have to be in a rush to build more affordable housing units; that maybe the conversation does not need to focus on the numbers and dollars of building more units but rather on the numbers and dollars of improving what we have. Perhaps city officials should look into the living conditions that exist in these units and look to improve management and maintenance.

Kirby on the Loose: “Bait and Switch at the Village?” (12/9/09)
About a month ago, [Bill “W”] got a notice that his rent was going up. It has jumped every year, but this was a big one. It was $645 in mid-2006; starting in January it will be $855. This, according to my math, is about a 30% jump. Private landowners generally don’t bump people up that much…

The rental levels at [Hilltop Apartments on Village Hill] seem to be in conflict with the ordinances setting up a city’s 40R Smart Growth Overlay District, which keeps the units affordable for at least thirty years, and is supposed to be incorporated as a rider in the deed. Section 3 says that “for an affordable Rental Unit, the monthly rent payment, including utilities and parking, shall not exceed 30% of the maximum monthly income permissible for an Eligible Household. . .” On their current website, the annual income limit for a 1 bedroom apartment with 1 person in it is $26,580. If you take Bill “W”’s case, my calculations say his maximum rent is $816: his rent has been set at $885.

Video: Committee on Public Safety, 11/10/09; Meadowbrook Firefighting Questioned and Defended
The owner of Meadowbrook, Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), was…criticized by citizens for the state of the electrical wiring on the site, numerous false fire alarms and lack of responsiveness to complaints.

Mike Kirby: “The Meadowbrook Chronicles Part One” (6/21/08)
For some time, a number of tenants and former tenants of Meadowbrook have been after me to write something about the housing complex and the agency that runs it. “Agency’s Tenants and Apartments: Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of Kilter” (6/19/04)
The 1999 report indicates that the inspector looked at 48 NHA units. Out of these, 77 percent of the units failed to pass inspection; 112 out of 122 defects cited were “maintenance related.” In other words, 91 percent of the defects were not due to tenant sloppiness or carelessness. Breaking them down by complex, Hampshire Heights apartments were in the worst shape by far.