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Hartford tenants ask for HUD help for deplorable apartment conditions

Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Mold, rats, and sewage seeping from the pipes. Tenants say these are just some of the problems at several low-income housing complexes in Hartford.

Many tenants have been forced out because it’s so bad. Tenants are frustrated. They successfully got the federal government to terminate contracts with three so-called ‘slum lords.’ Now, some are having issues finding new housing.

“Mice infestation, roach infestation that I had to take care of myself,” Joshua Serrano of Hartford .

Joshua Serrano is among dozens of Hartford residents. Forced to move out of subsidized housing because of deplorable conditions

“Mold growing not only on the outside of the tub but behind the wall we can’t see.”

Two years ago, Joshua joined a grassroots effort that led to the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to terminate contracts with owners of three Hartford complexes.

A year and a half later, the families got a voucher allowing them to move, but dozens still live in hotels. Others are still dealing with concerning conditions

“Our goal wasn’t section 8 vouchers. Our goal was better living conditions.”

Advocates were joined by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal on Friday says he’s urging HUD to provide more than temporary solutions.

“Make no mistake, our tax dollars are going to landlords who are providing slum housing here in Hartford,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

We reached out to HUD for answers and they told us most of the families have identified new housing options.

A spokesperson said quote:

HUD continues to work with the families of Barbour Gardens and infill apartments to secure their successful relocation to permanent apartments. HUD recently notified the residents that it was extending the relocation process to September 30 to allow additional time for HUD and its relocation contractor to continue to work with the families to secure housing.

HUD contracts last 20 years and tenants want permanent, not just temporary housing. They also want to see safeguards to make sure conditions don’t fall apart again.

“We need to change the system because the system is what’s making this stuff possible,” Joshua says.

“It would be unacceptable in Glastonbury. It would be unacceptable in Simsbury, so it shouldn’t be acceptable in Hartford,” says Rev. A.J. Johnson, Christian Activities Council.

On Monday, Senators Blumenthal, Murphy and Congressman Larson say they intend to submit a report to HUD demanding a better solution.

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