After flooding displaces residents, city leaders threaten legal action against HUD

Flooded apt. complex gets federal subsidies

CINCINNATI — City leaders threatened legal action against the feds Monday after flooding displaced residents of an Avondale apartment complex last week.

Residents at a complex near Reading and Burton roads said they were woken at 4 a.m. Friday, when water started pouring into their apartments after heavy, overnight rain.

A representative with legal aide told WCPO he has been working with these residents for months complaining about disrepair — specifically flooding and ceiling collapses, among others. He said he’s gotten calls from several tenants asking for help after they say they’re calls to the landlord went unanswered.

As a result, the city was forced to declare the property — which receives subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — “dangerous” and order residents to stay in a motel.

Leaders were outraged Monday, saying that because the landlord has not intervened, HUD should have stepped in, but has not.

“We’re going to have to sue the federal government,” said Councilman Christopher Smitherman. “It’s going to cost a lot of money, but some fights are worth fighting.”

Councilwoman Yvette Simpson called the conditions at the complex deplorable, but told her colleagues on City Council they should strive for more diplomacy.

“The last thing I want to do — and I am going to say this and try to be as sensitive as I can — is to continue ruining relationships with the federal government,” Simpson said.

But Smitherman held fast, saying, “For HUD to say they’re unwilling to even come here and talk with us is so outrageous,” he said. “For the owners for nine months to not come here and talk with us is outrageous.”

As leaders discuss steps forward, residents are just trying to make it day by day.

“We’re basically still trying to survive in terms of eating, clothing and hygiene — things we need,” said Michael Pinkston, who lived at the complex. “All of our needs have not been met yet. They’re slowly being attended to, but they’re just not there yet.”

Still, Pinkston remains hopeful: “There might be some rough edges, but we are going to get through this one way or the other.”

The complex on Burton Avenue is just one property managed by PE Alms Realty. There is also the Alms Apartments in Walnut Hills, the Entwine Manor in Avondale and two others on Cincinnati’s west side.

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