Residents want answers about poor conditions at Boonville apartment complex

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BOONVILLE, In. (WEHT) — People who live in a Boonville apartment complex say they are suffering from dirty conditions, and no air conditioning.

After the recent heat wave that saw the heat index topping 100 degrees, many worry living there is actually dangerous.

Governor Boon Square advertises itself as an apartment community for those over 62 and disabled.

I spoke with many neighbors who told me the conditions in the apartments are unhealthy, and they’ve had enough.

“My shower has leaked, it leaks about 4 gallons of water an hour,” said Tracy Barnes. “Toilets don’t flush. Air conditions…. I live on the third floor and the hallway’s not air-conditioned.”

Step into the hallway here, and you can feel the humidity. These walls can talk about difficult conditions.

“When it rains, it rain inside my apartment, in front of the window,” Barnes says. She’s lived here for five years.

Our cameras captured what we’re told are cigarette burns in old carpets, and large potholes in the parking lot.

“Trying to drive through those? It sits so low. It tore that [my car] up, and we keep getting told ‘two weeks, we’re gonna fix it.'”

“We’d be in trouble if we got caught putting an animal in these conditions, let alone a person,” says Shawn Russell. His father currently lives at Governor Boon Square.

Neighbors say this isn’t a problem with local-level mangement.

“The manager we have now, she tries. She does write things up. But nothing gets done above her,” Barnes says.

“They’re only able to work with the resources they are given,” says Russell. “And there’s no resources as far as I was seeing.”

That leads to another problem: it is not clear who should be doing these repairs.

“I guess there was a sale where another company was going to buy the place. And I guess they kind of are arguing … who pays what.”

When I went inside and asked to speak with management, I was told Global Ministries Foundations (address out of Tennessee) currently owns the property. It is managed by Millennia Housing Management Ltd, out of Ohio.

I spoke with a representative from Millennia and asked some questions, but have not yet heard back.

“Amanda: Are there a lot of veterans that live in this unit?
Tracy: There’s several. One of them, I know, his son brought it to the attention, it’s been two years since he’s had full air.”

That veteran’s son is Shawn Russel. He took his fight to Facebook.

“We had to put a window unit in last summer, in my Dad’s apartment so that he had AC. And then they installed a wall unit this year, so we was told to take the window unit out because it was against property policy. So we took it out, and the wall unit worked for about three days and then stopped working. They installed another wall unit and we’re at where we’re at now, and it wasn’t working either.”

“I kind of felt like it might have been an isolated incident, and I was just frustrated. Since then there’s been multiple other people.”

It got the attention of lawmakers, who are now also working for answers.

“We put in an emergency call to HUD who is with the Governor Boon Square, it’s an affordable housing issue,” says Rep. Ron Bacon.

He, and other lawmakers are looking into the issue. However, until an inspection by the Department of U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is done, there are no answers for people who need them most, like Shawn Russell’s father.

“He is a retired disabled veteran that has had two or three heat strokes, two heart attacks and open heart surgery.”

Representative Bacon says if the conditions persist through another heat wave, he might be forced to call the Health Department.

As for Tracy Barnes, she’s packing up and leaving…

“My pulmonologist said… you’ve got to move.”

Because after five years, she’s finally had enough.

“It’s affecting my health.”

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(This story was originally published on July 25, 2019)

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