Westlake tenants frustrated over lack of answers, help

Westlake tenants frustrated over lack of answers, help
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - The tenants at Westlake Apartments were on the verge of rioting Friday over the problems in their units following Hurricane Matthew.

The property owners, Aspen Companies, have been promising a solution and have yet to deliver.

Many refused to go back in their units, instead, staging outside the property manager's office demanding solutions to the water and mold problems.

We got another look at the units Friday, including this one where green and white mold were visible all over the furniture and water was still standing under the carpeting. The tenant, Olivia Johnson told me she just doesn't know where to turn next.

"All we want is help. That's all we want. That's all we want. This is sad man. I don't have anything. I save these. I save these. These were floating right in my hallway. And I saved these. I don't have anything.  I don't have nothing, bro," said Johnson.

Savannah Alderman Van Johnson is the latest elected official to get out for a look at the complex.  He tells me he was mortified at what he saw. But this is private property in the county's jurisdiction, so there's little he can do.  And, he says, the situation has left the tenants with no good options.

"Right now they have to choose between a shelter which is really not convenient or helpful for mothers with multiple children or and homes that are obviously in dangerous disrepair," said Johnson.

On Monday, Alderman Johnson plans to contact the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to demand that the owners stop receiving any funds from the vouchers being used to cover some of the resident's rent.  And he says given the owner's history with this property, he doesn't believe the solution they choose will be adequate.

Johnson went on to tell me he believes this complex should be condemned and bulldozed, that after years of flooding issues here, the structures may, in fact, be un-savable.

The property manager says contractors will be out on Monday to assess the damaged units for repair. However, for the third day in a row, we left messages for Aspen Companies, the owner.

We have yet to hear back.

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