Senator Richard Blumenthal points out where he can see mold seeping through the paint in the bathroom of Latasha Burage’s apartment at Branford Manor Apartments in Groton. Burage, pictured, told her about the mold and how Branford Mansion Apartments maintenance painted over it and she is breaking through the paint again. Burage was showing Blumenthal this and other problems she had in her apartment. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
Groton – Branford Manor resident Latasha Burage told U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who toured the public subdivision on Friday, that mold is one of the biggest problems tenants face, along with the stench of mold apparent in some units as soon as people open the door.
Blumenthal called mold a “very dangerous health threat” that needs to be dealt with effectively.
“The stories I’ve heard are really very concerning and I want answers,” Blumenthal said at the end of his visit on Friday, during which he spoke with residents and local officials and reviewed the issues. mold and leaks in an apartment.
Burage and a group of about a dozen residents shared concerns about mold, as well as an issue of closing storage space, at the 442-unit private development funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Development urban.
Councilman Aundre Bumgardner, who contacted Blumenthal about residents’ concerns, City of Groton Mayor Keith Hedrick, City of Groton Deputy Mayor Gweneviere Depot, State Senator Heather Somers, R- Groton, who sits on the Legislature’s Public Health Committee, and Robert Boris, who sits on the Groton Economic Development Commission, also listened to residents on Friday.
Branford Manor informed residents that their basements will be closed and gave them a deadline to remove their items. But Burage said tenants believed management was closing off their basements so tenants couldn’t see the mold there. If basements are closed, tenants cannot go down to basements to spray walls with bleach and other measures to try to control mold, she said.
Burage also said that after raising her concerns at a recent meeting with local officials and The Day, she received notice to vacate her premises and was told she owed the last four months of his rent. She said she went to the bank to get the receipts showing that her rent had been paid.
She said UniteCT, which provides housing assistance, was supposed to cover the rent for December, January and February and sent a letter advising Branford Manor, but continues to process the rent for her, along with other people. Burage, who said she was never behind on her rent, said management sent her the letter in retaliation after she spoke out. She heard that the same thing had happened to another person.
Bumgardner, who went with Burage to the executive office, said the fact that she received a resignation notice nearly a week after a public meeting “can only be described as retaliation.”
“I am particularly outraged by potential retaliation because failure to repair or maintain is unacceptable, but retaliation is impermissible,” Blumenthal said. apartments or houses. There’s no excuse for that.”
Hedrick, who compiled a list of residents’ concerns to share with the Ledge Light Health District at the meeting earlier this month, said he meets weekly with management and will request a list of complaints received in relation to the actions they have taken against the tenants. He said Ledge Light is checking for mold and is sending the city building inspector and fire marshal to look for problems.
Bumgardner said there will be a tenants’ meeting on Sunday. He said Burage has taken it upon herself to form a tenants’ association, but they will discuss establishing a real tenants’ union on Sunday.
A spokesperson for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development said earlier this month that HUD would expedite an inspection of Branford Manor.
Bumgardner said HUD gave Branford Manor a deadline to hire a contractor to complete a site-wide mold assessment and create a remediation plan.
Resident Patience Clarke said mold isn’t exclusive to basements, but many mold problems are on upper levels and around water pipes.
Resident Valarie Levy, who was there with her 2.5-year-old daughter Azrielle, said her family moved to Branford Manor about six months ago after being on more than 20 waiting lists for accommodation. She said someone told her that Branford Manor had problems with mold, leaks and pipes potentially going back to the 1980s.
Levy, who has no basement, said she was disabled and wanted a safe place for her and her daughter to live. She is grateful for her house, but she is concerned about the structure of all these buildings.
“If a natural disaster occurs, these buildings have to get up and do what they’re supposed to do,” she said.
“We appreciate the patience and partnership of residents and are working closely with all stakeholders to ensure a safe and healthy living environment at Branford Manor Apartments,” a spokesperson for Branford Manor Apartments said in a statement sent by email Friday evening.
In a letter this week, Branford Manor management told residents they could call the management office if they needed help removing items from their basement and management was looking for a removal facility. storage “who will negotiate reasonable prices for those who need it”.
Management also said they have made arrangements for “the potential existence of dampness, mold or other potentially hazardous materials” in the basement and a certified consultant will fully inspect the basements within the next two weeks to “determine whether hazardous environmental conditions exist”. sanitation is necessary, “the work will be undertaken as soon as possible by an approved professional”. Management said it would conduct quarterly basement inspections “or at the request of residents” and install water sensor alarms in the basement to alert management to potential leaks.
Patience Clarke, second from right, tells Senator Richard Blumenthal, left, on Friday about the problems she is having at the Branford Manor Apartments in Groton. Blumenthal was visiting to learn more about the problems the residents were having. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
Branford Manor Apartments resident Valarie Levy, left, with her daughter, Azrielle, 2, raised concerns with Senator Richard Blumenthal on Friday, when he visited the Groton apartment complex to learn more about the complaints about mold and other dangerous maintenance issues. residents live. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
From left, Latasha Burage tells Senator Richard Blumenthal and Groton Councilwoman Aundre Bumgardner how the light fixture in the ber Branford Manor apartment in Groton, on the ceiling at left, had to be moved because water was leaking from upstairs and crossed the binding. She had to keep a bowl under it. This problem has been solved and covered with the square patch on the ceiling. Burage said this issue was resolved for her, but she heard other residents were still having the same issue. (Dana Jensen/The Day)