Atlantic City to inspect housing authority homes after residents report heat and hot water outages

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Wednesday, December 7, 2022
AC housing authority homes to be inspected after recent complaints
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City officials say since July 2021, the Atlantic City Housing Authority has been under the oversight of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD.

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Unique Johnson, 37, took Action News inside her apartment in Stanley Holmes Village, a complex managed by the Atlantic City Housing Authority.

She says she had no heat or hot water for Thanksgiving.

"I came in thinking 'about to start my dinner, get ready for my Thanksgiving dinner.' I come in, there's no heat on in my house. And I go to my water, there's no hot water," said Johnson.

She says the heat and hot water will stop working sporadically for days at a time.

She was one of the dozens of residents who came out to listen to the mayor's press conference on Tuesday morning, announcing that the city will step in and inspect more than 400 units after numerous complaints over living conditions.

"Even though the Atlantic City Housing Authority is not under the city of Atlantic City's jurisdiction, we felt that these are residents of Atlantic City and they did not deserve to live in the inhumane conditions that they were living in," said Mayor Marty Small Sr.

City officials say since July 2021, the Atlantic City Housing Authority has been under the oversight of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD.

Small says when the city learned about heat and hot water outages and trash pickup backlogs, an emergency declaration was made in October, giving the city more power to step in.

John Clarke, interim executive director for the Atlantic City Housing Authority, says the agency has faced challenges over the past few years, including COVID-19.

"These buildings are very old," said Clarke. "And there needs to be a transition at this time to help these residents find better living conditions and hopefully we can all work together to try to make that happen."

But residents at the press conference Tuesday were frustrated that the issues have persisted for so long.

Action News spoke to a woman whose mother is staying in a hotel because of mold in her unit.

"They're not doing anything about it. They're putting her up and hopefully, after this meeting, he'll keep his word and get people back in their homes and get the heat on," the woman said.

The city also said space heaters and blankets will be provided to residents dealing with heat issues.

Those inspections by the city will start Wednesday.

A HUD spokesperson sent a lengthy response Tuesday, part of which said, "In July 2021, The Atlantic City Housing Authority's (ACHA) Financial Condition was determined as Substandard by HUD. In addition, the ACHA had failed to complete a number of procurements in accordance with statutes and regulations. Due to both of these factors, HUD initiated enhanced monitoring of ACHA's finances and procurement actions. ACHA has access to its budget for capital and operational needs. If the matter is an emergency, the Board of Directors for the Housing Authority has authority to take measures to address pressing concerns immediately."