Resident of one Atlantic City neighborhood have been in the cold for weeks, with no heat and hot water.
But on Wednesday the mayor assured residents of Stanley Holmes Village that help is on the way.
The Atlantic City Housing Authority not the city oversees the village and other properties in town, Mayor Marty Small stressed. But an emergency declaration made last week has given the city extra powers for spending and enforcement of ongoing issues at the property.
“These residents do not deserve to live in these conditions,” Small said at a news conference Tuesday in the village’s Community Center.
He said it’s unclear exactly how many residents have been without heat and hot water, with reports ranging from seven to 200.
“We’re going to inspect before we expect,” Small said.
That means city inspectors will spend the next three days going into every unit in Stanley Holmes to find out what the issues are so that each can be addressed.
Heat and hot water won’t be the only issues addressed, Licensing and Inspections Director Dale Finch said.
Teams of two will go into each unit checking temperatures, hot water, ovens, refrigerators, smoke and carbon dioxide detectors, pests and mold, which has been a longstanding issue with several Housing Authority-run properties.
The teams will begin work Wednesday morning at the first village. Thursday will focus on the second village, with the third village getting inspectors Friday.
This is the first time anything like this has been done in the city’s history, Small said.
Fire Chief Scott Evans, who is also the director of Emergency Management, was asked to weigh in on the type of space heaters that would be safe for the units that need them, Small said.
“The last thing that we want is to have everyone come to this room and give out 400 heaters, and it sets all the apartments on fire,” he said. “That’s not responsible.”
The Housing Authority’s issues are the product of the zero-threshold program from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Small said.
The authority cannot spend a dime without federal approval. The authority also has not had meetings in some time, and is working with an interim director who only spends about two days a week in the city, he confirmed.
Notices are being passed out to alert every village resident, said Jarrod Barnes, the city’s director of Health and Human Services.
“If there are other issues, we will make a note and follow up,” he said, stressing that they would make sure to remediate mold, heat and hot water issues.
About nine families have been displaced so far, and were put up at the Sheraton Hotel, Small said.
Any mold or other issues would require the Housing Authority to find alternative housing for those tenants.
Fines may also be imposed, the mayor warned.