Hartford public housing residents celebrate a win

HARTFORD - After years of living in poor conditions in Hartford's Barbour Gardens Apartments, the residents of the 84 public housing units will now be permitted to take their vouchers and move elsewhere.

That's scheduled to happen over the next 6 months.

In February, of 2018, the apartments were inspected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and received a score of 81 out of 100. But, HUD later acknowledges that was a false positive result.

Was it ever. In October 2018, after residents demanded a retest, the complex received only 9 of a possible 100 points.

Residents of Barbour Gardens have been begging for improvements for years. "I have two twin daughters, who were born premature, and have been suffering from the day they were born," said Shaday Gaston, who, because of mold and mice, moved her family out of recently.

"I immediately noticed that Shamya started to heal.," she said. "I was able to take her off of the high steroids, that she what is prescribed."

HUD has finally agreed the conditions are unacceptable.

"When they shower on the third floor it showers in my bathroom shower," said Betty Wadley, a Barbour Gardens resident for 11 years.

HUD has begun to process of taking away the complex owners' federal subsidy, which last year was just over $1 million.

"This is the third time in the space of less than a year that HUD has pulled an assistance contract away from a slumlord, who was allowing their property to deteriorate to the point that it was uninhabitable and inexcusable and deplorable," said Mayor Luke Bronin (D-Hartford).

The New York based ownership group of the housing complex has not responded to Fox 61's request for comment as to how, with their hefty annual subsidy, the buildings could be in such deplorable condition.

At the end of their celebration, a large group of residents, politicians and activists shouted "No more slumlords" several times.

With plumbing issues, rodent infestations, no fire suppression system, broken windows and exterior doors that don't lock, residents ae thankful for a fresh start.

"Cleanliness, friendliness, healthiness and kindness," is what Wadley says she and others are looking for.

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