PEI

Charlottetown seniors say their social housing complex isn't healthy, safe or clean

Seniors living at a social housing complex in Charlottetown say they’ve been asking the Department of Social Development and Housing to improve conditions in their building for years, but they're still waiting for repairs and results.

'It's about quality of living for seniors'

Resident Wayne Casford said he's spoken with elected officials and bureaucrats over three years to try to improve the conditions inside 9 Champion Crt. in Charlottetown. (Kate McKenna/CBC News)

Seniors living at a social housing complex in Charlottetown say they've been asking the Department of Social Development and Housing to improve the conditions in their building for years, but residents are still waiting for repairs and results.

Residents of 9 Champion Crt. say they have been dealing with a leaky ceiling for more than three years, and they're concerned about potential mould caused by the dampness. 

Photos taken by one of the residents within the last two weeks show half-filled buckets lining the floor, collecting water dripping from the ceiling. The buckets have since been removed, but water is still leaking from the ceiling. 

"It's about quality of living for seniors," said Wayne Casford, a longtime resident of the building. "We're not getting the results from all the promises we got."

In addition, Casford said the building is cleaned infrequently — about once every six weeks — and that non-residents are coming into the building, making residents uncomfortable.

Casford and others say they've met with their local MLA and the former minister responsible for Social Development and Housing, in addition to calling bureaucrats with housing services. 

"I get frustrated and everything, and I went after housing again, but they just pass the buck to someone else," Casford said.

Residents of 9 Champion Crt. use buckets and pots to catch water dripping from the ceiling. They estimate that the ceiling has been leaking for more than three years. (Lori Flanagan)

The building — owned by the P.E.I. Housing Corporation — has more than 60 units, and provides subsidized housing for seniors. The Department of Social Development and Housing oversees it.

In a statement, the ministry said it is aware of ongoing issues at 9 Champion Court.

It said maintenance workers have been repairing the plumbing over the last three years, but the system requires extensive repairs and upgrades.

The statement also said those upgrades are underway, but they require the heating system to be shut down and drained, and the work must be done in July and August to provide heat for tenants, starting in September. It said that the work is currently ongoing.

It also said common areas are cleaned on a "scheduled rotation by maintenance service workers," but didn't disclose how often the workers clean.

Resident Melanie Moffat says she feels unsafe inside her apartment building because non-residents have been coming inside, using the facilities and sleeping in common areas. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

Non-residents sleeping in common rooms

Melanie Moffat said she moved into 9 Champion Court eight years ago, excited to set up an apartment and celebrate her retirement.

But she said since then, she's become nervous inside her own home.

She said in recent years, non-residents have been coming into the building, using the facilities, and sleeping in the common rooms.

"It's been kind of scary for me," Moffat said. "It's a safety and security issue with me, and I started feeling really, really uncomfortable."

The province installed a CCTV system last winter, but tenants said that hasn't served as a deterrent. 

The ministry is also planning to install a key fob system so only current tenants can access the building, but said installation was delayed because they were waiting for materials to ship. 

It said installation will begin next week.

9 Champion Crt. is a social housing complex of about 60 units in Charlottetown. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate McKenna is a journalist with CBC News based in Montreal. kate.mckenna@cbc.ca.

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