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HUD: East Point tenants living in unsafe, unsanitary housing
By JIM WALLS
Tenants of federally subsidized housing in East Point frequently live in unsanitary and unsafe units, even after inspections to identify and correct substandard conditions, investigators say.
The East Point Housing Authority’s overworked (and only) inspector overlooked some violations of federal quality standards and passed previously noted deficiencies even if they hadn’t been corrected, the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found in an audit report posted Monday.
HUD went through 14 units, chosen at random, that had been recently inspected by East Point’s personnel and found:
The deficiencies identified included ground fault interrupters that were either missing or not working properly, smoke detectors that were not working, windows that would not lock or stay up when opened, missing or broken window and vent screens, roach infestation, an exterior hand rail that was not installed, interior rails that were loose, stoves that were not working, and a dryer that was vented to the inside of the kitchen.
The most serious deficiencies, found in one home, included:
a broken support beam on the front porch that weakened the roof, causing it to sag; old roofing tiles scattered over the yard from previous repairs; leaks in the kitchen and walls that were mildewed; and mold and mildew in other parts of the house.
HUD attributed the inspector’s oversights to a crushing workload in East Point, where the number of tenants in the Housing Choice Voucher program has more than doubled in recent years. He is responsible for initial, annual and follow-up inspections for 794 housing units leased by the East Point Housing Authority.
East Point authorities told HUD they planned to hire a second inspector. The authority’s inspection program also has employed theee housing housing specialists, one of whom was promoted and not replaced.
HUD also faulted the East Point agency’s program for quality control reviews, which were often late and not communicated to the inspector whose work was being reviewed.