Westlake Apartment residents voice anger with apartment owners

(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
The Westlake Apartment Complex sustained substantial flooding (Source: WTOC)
The Westlake Apartment Complex sustained substantial flooding (Source: WTOC)

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - It's been described as some of the most deplorable living conditions in all of Chatham County. Residents are frustrated with the lack of action even three weeks later.

Tuesday, they finally voiced their anger to the ones who matter: the owners of the Westlake Apartment Complex.

The owners started by apologizing and admitting they could have done more. When people started asking their questions, frustration and anger they had been holding in for weeks began to boil over.

Anger and emotion were easily seen on nearly every person in this sanctuary. They minced no words calling out the owners of their apartment complex.

"No one has been there to this day," exclaimed one upset resident.

Mold and water damaged half of the 100 units, making a quarter of them unlivable.

"My son, my 1-year-old, he's been diagnosed with bronchitis and they're saying it's from the mold," said resident Jennifer Green.

Sicknesses like that are everywhere. One woman claimed 80 percent of kids in this complex have some sort of mold-related illness.

A large group showed up for the meeting. That doesn't mean they feel it was successful.

"Absolutely not. I don't believe anything more will be done than what they've already done which is put a big Band-Aid over a big issue," said Amanda Jones.

Jones takes it one step further.

"It made the situation worse because seeing them, you can look at someone and you can see, it's malarkey. It's money," said Jones.

"It's frustrating also because we're speaking to them but they're not hearing us," said Green.

No shortage of displaced women laid out a laundry list of problems from missing windows to moldy walls. The owners told the crowd that work is underway on the 22 uninhabitable units.

Even that raises questions.

"Everybody is just like we have machines in there. You're lying," said Jones.

One of the owners apologized in his statements saying they could and should have done more. We tried to ask him more about his renovation plan and his thoughts on the conditions and feelings of his tenants.

He refused and referred me to a PR company notably not in attendance.

Several local pastors set up the town hall meeting. Their hope is to at least start the healing and rebuilding process as quickly as possible. The owners say crews will finish on the 22 units by mid-November.

FEMA's role was to make sure tenants do everything right when applying for recovery assistance.

We are finally hearing from the Housing Department following the announcement that it is withholding funding for the uninhabitable units until they are fixed.

HUD officials said Westlake will stay on its radar and receive more frequent inspections.

"I'm here to stay all night. I'm here to hear for as long as I need to hear, but after we get done hearing, there needs to be some action. That's what our responsibility is - to make sure that the owner and the management companies step forward and uphold the responsibilities they have under our contract," said HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Ed Jennings.

Jennings will tour the complex Wednesday with HUD and FEMA representatives.

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