'Poor living conditions': Durham residents complain of mismanagement at senior living facility

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Monday, August 7, 2023
Durham seniors say their homes are unsafe, dirty
Residents at JFK Towers in Durham express their frustration with what they say are "poor living conditions" at the 7-story building.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Residents at JFK Towers in Durham have continued to express their frustration with what they say are "poor living conditions" at the 7-story building.

The complex, which is located on Old Farm Road, houses residents over the age of 62 and those living with disabilities.

That includes resident Johnetta Alston, who said she was recently moved from the sixth floor to the seventh floor for a unit issue.

"Can we have a safe place to live," asked Alston. "That's all we're asking. Safe. Clean. There's not too much in this building that's clean nor safe."

SEE ALSO | Residents complain about JFK Towers in 2019

Residents say Durham housing complex is unsafe.

When Alston first moved in the complex two years ago, she described her residency as "jovial."

"Once I start paying attention, 'Oh what in the world have I got myself into,'" said Alston. "We might as well been in the landfill because the trash was backed up in the chutes. And that's what we have to breathe."

The building, which is run by Cleveland-based The Millennia Companies, said they have addressed specific tenant issues. The group sent us the following statement:

With regard to any issues related to pest control, including gnats, a pest control vendor is engaged and treats 30 units every other week. In addition, if a resident is having a specific issue within their unit, the resident should contact the property management office and the issue will be treated promptly. The common areas have also been treated for pest control. In addition, a new trash compactor has been ordered and is expected to be installed within the six weeks. The new compactor should also help address this issue. A temporary trash compactor and bin were installed last week.

Regarding allegations of moisture-related issues, there has been one resident that recently raised an issue. The property management team worked with the resident and believe that the resident is satisfied with the response from the team.

Concerning the elevators, all three elevators are working. As the property is currently undergoing a substantial rehabilitation, the scope of work for the elevators is substantial and the modernization will improve the reliability.

There have been times when the water to the property has been shut-off for short periods of time. These shut-off periods were expected as part of the construction project as plumbers are working to update the plumbing at the property. The general contractor and the property management team have made efforts to notify all residents in advance by posting notices in public areas and on each unit entry door. The water was never turned off overnight.

The issue with the one bathtub that backed-up was promptly resolved. The property management team and plumbing vendor worked with the resident to ensure that it was resolved to the resident's satisfaction.

SEE ALSO | Fort Bragg families complain of non-working AC units during summer heat

Some Fort Bragg families say their AC is working again, but there are many families still waiting for their units to be repaired.

"They're closed today," added resident Phyllis Bryant. "Any concern you have they refer you to the maintenance number. I mean literally how effective is that? You can have a main leak and somehow you're still waiting and waiting for someone to come fix it."

Bryant said she's helping to encourage residents to join a nationwide movement of Millennia residents across the country to send a letter to US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge.

"So we can present a unified front to get HUD to investigate Millenia because of their long-standing mismanagement," Bryant added.