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Nauck Apartment Residents Demand Better Living Conditions

by ARLnow.com — May 13, 2016 at 3:35 pm 0

The Shelton apartment building (photo via AHC, Inc.)Residents of The Shelton apartment building in Nauck are speaking out about what they say are poor and unsafe living conditions at the affordable apartment complex.

The four-story building, at 3215 24th Street S., was built in 2009 and has 94 committed affordable apartments. There’s also a community center, landscaped courtyard with a play area and underground parking.

A letter signed by 19 residents alleges “poor and disrespectful customer service,” “harassment of residents by staff” and — most pointedly — problems with drug dealing and usage in and around the building, chronic loitering and a pest infestation.

“The Shelton was built and operates using public funds, but is not accountable to the residents or the community,” the letter says. “Our living conditions continue to deteriorate… It is not always a safe place for us or our children to live. Security currently in place is not adequate.”

“As residents we have a right to live in a building that is well maintained, welcoming and secure,” the letter continues. “We need dedicated staffing and security personnel on these premises that will work with us as tenants… Safety and security at the Shelton should be a priority for management and on-site staff.”

Arlington County Police Department records show that there were 125 calls for service to the apartment building between May 1, 2015 and today. While high, we’re told that’s not an excessive number for a large, multi-family building. The top four types of police calls to the building were for domestic incidents, noise complaints, trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Arlington-based AHC, which owns and manages The Shelton, has organized a community meeting in response to the letter, a spokeswoman told ARLnow.com this afternoon. That meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18 at 6 p.m. at the building’s community room. It will “discuss any concerns [residents] may have” and provide “an update on the steps we have taken over the last several months to rectify several issues.”

AHC says trash areas in the building are now being checked daily and extra trash collection days have been scheduled to help address the pest problem. Also, adjustments are being made to correct inaccurate utility bills that were sent to some residents.

To address the safety issue, an automated system asking loiterers to “please move on” was recently installed near the 7-Eleven store and the automatic front door now prevents individuals from holding it open indefinitely. AHC says the building currently has 32 security cameras.

“AHC has deep roots in the Nauck community,” said AHC Communications Manager Celia Slater. “We are dedicated to working with local organizations like the Nauck Civic Association and the Bonder and Amanda Johnson Community Development Corporation. We continue to partner with Arlington County and other groups to help move forward plans for the Nauck neighborhood revitalization.”

The full letter from residents, after the jump.

The residents of the Shelton Apartments are fed up with the following conditions that have been reported in several meetings with managers and staff.

  • Poor and disrespectful customer service
  • Harassment of residents by staff
  • Mismanagement and inappropriate accounting of funds and payments
  • Living conditions (pest infestation, loitering, drugs used and distributed on premises & safety)

The Shelton was built and operates using public funds, but is not accountable to the residents or the community. Resident Services claims that they offer programs to strengthen resident economic and social stability, when in fact their lack of programs at the Shelton greatly impacts the quality of our lives. We have seen a very high turnover rate in staffing, and staff that is poorly trained, disrespectful and harassing.

In the last year, we have been subjected to inappropriate fees being charged for utilities, disputed claims of credits on our accounts and payments that were unaccounted for in office records. Our living conditions continue to deteriorate with pest infestations, loitering in and around the building, illegal drug use and distribution. It is not always a safe place for us or our children to live. Security currently in place is not adequate. Monitoring the premises, without immediate follow-up and action is not appropriate. As residents we have a right to live in a building that is well maintained, welcoming and secure. AHC Management has continued to cover up these conditions and make decisions about services and programs to be offered that are not what we need as residents. Programs offered by part- time staff assigned to other properties, do not address our needs. We need dedicated staffing and security personnel on these premises that will work with us as tenants.

AHC is known for award winning programs at other properties, but here, we are just a bricks and mortar building, with poor service to residents.   We demand better services and a safe place to live.

We the undersigned are taking the next steps in requesting that the organizations receiving this correspondence will join us in insisting that AHC be held accountable at the Shelton. We want staffing that will respect and understand us as residents. Staffing should be on-sight to monitor and ensure that the premises are well maintained. Safety and security at the Shelton should be a priority for management and on-site staff.

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