NEW LONDON -- The tenants of a large public housing complex in New London are finally happy.
That’s because they’re about to put the 50-year-old Thames River Apartments in their rearview mirror.
Thursday morning, at 10 a.m., roughly half of the residents will be given vouchers to move into any private sector affordable housing they wish to either in or out of state.
“It’s just really bad, like I can’t take it anymore, said Zenobia Ramos, a 3-year resident of Thames River.
The roughly 50-year-old apartment complex, which currently houses approximately 350 people, is well past its useful life, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the City and the complex’s residents.
“Problems with the water system, problems with the toilets, the sinks, infestation of mice,” rattled off Ramos.
Just last week, longtime tenant Jeanne Ward’s apartment was under several inches of water following plumbing trouble, which forced her and her kids to stay elsewhere for Christmas.
“That family has another home already picked out,” said Mayor Michael Passero (D - New London. “So, they are looking forward to moving. As soon as they get their voucher, we will get them on their way and get them resettled.”
Not everyone frowns on Thames River. When you walk toward Ana Maria Rodriguez’s apartment, there’s an immediate indication of her colorful, positive nature.
The mother of six, has her apartment door wrapped like a present, which she said people do all the time in her native Puerto Rico
She and her youngest son spent the last two Christmases in shelters. So, they are thankful for this place of their own, despite what other residents say.
“I fight for my kids,” Rodriguez said. “You know, it’s not for me. This house is for my kids, not for May.”
She received a letter saying she will get her portable voucher January 10. At that point, she will begin looking forward to moving north to Norwich, near where one of her six children works.
“Everybody told me there’s some housing over there,” she said with a smile.
But, she, unlike most others living in the complex, which stands next to the Gold Star Memorial Bridge, is happy to have more time in her apartment.
“I got no tree, but I got the lights,” she said laughing.
All residents, who don’t get their vouchers Thursday, are scheduled to receive them on January 10. And the New London Housing Authority will be footing the bill for this massive move to the tune of roughly $625,000.