NewsLocal NewsInvestigations


'People are getting sick': Residents living in older CMHA neighborhoods raise concerns about conditions inside their homes

Posted at 7:10 AM, Oct 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-03 07:10:31-04

CLEVELAND — Residents living in older neighborhoods owned and operated by the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority are raising concerns about the on-going health and quality of life issues plaguing their apartments.

Community action group Black on Black Crime Inc. told News 5 it continues to take complaints from CMHA residents who live in the Carver Park, Outhwaite and Olde Cedar neighborhoods.

Carver Park resident Sandra Burton showed News 5 video of the Sept. 30 sewage back-up at her unit.

Burton said it's the second sewage flood she's dealt with, and said she's concerned her contaminated belongings are a health risk until she can afford to replace them.

“The water was so high I had to put on boots, my house shoes were soaked, all my shoes,” Burton said. “I have COPD, asthma and bronchitis, and I’m inhaling this stuff that rose up and I’m inhaling this stuff.”

Neighbor Leneshia Hale said her unit has flooded four times, and said many other residents continue to deal with chronic flooding and plumbing problems at the complex.

Hale told News 5 that CMHA crews responded, but she believes in too many cases, quick-fix repairs are made when more extensive systemic renovations are desperately needed.

“My apartment flooded so bad one time it took CMHA workers three hours to even get it up,” Hale said.

"And they came and they put a little metal part where it was cracked, and they came and they plastered it up, didn’t fix it, didn’t do anything about it."

News 5 contacted CMHA headquarters about these concerns and it responded immediately.

CMHA Chief of Staff Jeff Wade said the agency is in the process of implementing a $26.5 million, 5-year action plan that will provide extensive repairs and renovations at all of its neighborhoods.

The 38-page plan detailed major plumbing, electrical and structural improvements.

Wade said CMHA will continue with neighborhood meetings to keep residents updated on health and quality of life concerns.

But community group Black on Black Inc. told News 5 it wonders how CMHA got so far behind on needed renovations, and is wondering if the 5-year plan will be enough to catch up.

Black on Black Field Director Donna Walker-Brown said plumbing problems must be addressed as soon as possible.

“These people have been living in these conditions for over ten years,” Walker-Brown said. “You guys need to get out here, and you need to come and correct this problem, because people are getting sick."

"Just because you’re poor doesn’t mean you have to live in deplorable living arraignments," she said.

Download our streaming app on your favorite device.  Click here for more.

Click here to see how we follow through

5 On Your Side Investigators Contact Form
Do you have an issue or story that you want 5 On Your Side Investigators to look into? Email or fill out the form below.