EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — A critical Evansville Housing Authority deadline has passed at Woodland Park Apartments Friday evening.
The EHA gave the apartment complex’s management a 5 p.m. Friday deadline to resolve its payment problems with CenterPoint Energy. The energy company threatened earlier this week to cut the power at Woodland Park because of uncollected utility payments.
CenterPoint Energy officials confirmed Friday night that Woodland Park Apartments had not entered into a payment plan with the company.
According to the EHA notice, residents with government issued vouchers can break their leases immediately.
On Friday afternoon, city council members Alex Burton D-Fourth Ward, Missy Mosby, D-Second Ward, and Zac Heronemus, D-Third Ward, joined a coalition of community members at Woodland Park. The group assessed how many people were living in each unit, while trying to process the magnitude of what was happening.
City Council Attorney Josh Claybourn, along with City Clerk Laura Windhorst and Knight Township Trustee Kathryn Martin were also on hand to canvas the apartment complex grounds Friday afternoon. Representatives from United Way of Southwestern Indiana, the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. and other local nonprofits were also assisting.
“I’m approaching this that management will do what we know them to do and not pay their bills,” said City Council Member Alex Burton. “So moving forward we need to figure out what the next steps A thru Z look like, and how we are going to really make this not something that residents feel like they are battling this alone with.”
The group went door by door handing out a sheet with a QR code directing residents to an online needs assessment form.
Neither the complex or CenterPoint will say how much Woodland Park owes, but the energy company says it’s a significant amount. The apartment manager told us Thursday they might have been slightly behind on bills in 2019, but the pandemic caused them to fall even more behind.
City officials said the complex is not doing enough and they are already making plans for what the days and months ahead may hold.
“I don’t want to get into too much right now. It is still too early to get into all the details, but I will say there has been a myriad of thoughts, concerns and ideas presented,” Burton said. “We are all in this together and we are trying to figure out what that looks like for the community.”
Burton said he is frustrated and promised he’ll get to the bottom of what went so wrong at Woodland Park.
“I have been talking with lawyers to figure out what the legal actions can be for us also,” Burton said. “I met with the Mayor this morning, and we are all on the same page and lockstep to make sure the residents of our community never have to experience anything like this again.”
Woodland Park’s manager has promised to make the necessary payments by August 5th.