HUD Sec. Ben Carson promises relief for tenants of troubled Clay Arsenal apartments

HARTFORD --  Residents of Hartford’s troubled Clay Arsenal Apartment buildings have been complaining of poor living conditions for years.

“Animals running through the walls, plumbing, mold issues,” said Clay Arsenal tenant, Teri Morrison.

On Monday, a group of tenants led by Reverend A.J. Johnson and the Christian Activities Council met with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to shine a light on their landlord who they refer to as a "slumlord".

“Mistreating his apartments over 150 units, 26 buildings, by not treating mice, mold and infestations,” Johnson said.

“Dr. Carson made a commitment to relocate families from the Clay Arsenal area as well as give them assistance in relocation,” Morrison said.

FOX61 News was first to report on the relocation, which is part of HUD’s decision to rescind the $1.4 million subsidy given to landlord, Emmanuel Ku, who owns all 26 Clay Arsenal properties.

However, Secretary Carson did not step foot inside of any of the apartments during his trip to Hartford.

If he did, he may have seen residences like Verenise Arroyo’s home of about a decade.

“She’s been dealing with major mice situations, roaches,” said Joshua Serrano, who is also a Clay Arsenal tenant.

Arroyo has also been dealing with leaking ceilings, mildew and mold which she blames for her children’s asthma. Even after HUD made repairs in Arroyo’s apartment and dozens of other Clay Arsenal apartments, almost all of them failed inspection.

Some may ask why the tenants don’t move. Johnson said Clay Arsenal residents live in project-based housing.

This means they don’t have Section 8 vouchers.

If tenants leave their apartments they won’t have government housing assistance.

When HUD does relocate Clay Arsenal, tenants will be given Section 8 vouchers to live wherever they like.

Johnson is worried many will leave their community and cause more blight and a rise in crime.

“I would love for everyone to stay in Hartford but that might not be everyone’s ambition,” Johnson said.