Bedbugs, roaches found at HUD-subsidized apartments
Elderly residents of Aurora Apartments north of downtown were temporarily booted from their units Thursday after a Metropolitan Health District inspector found an infestation of bedbugs and cockroaches.
The owner of the high-rise on Howard Street is working on exterminating the bugs. The building is privately owned, but the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department pays a portion of residents’ rent because they are low-income.
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“When we inspected the place ourselves, it was this past Monday, and it revealed a very gross infestation of bedbugs and cockroaches,” said Carol Schliesinger, a Metro Health spokeswoman. “It’s a pretty widespread issue.”
The health inspector was called out after a separate code enforcement inspection. A spokeswoman for the Development Services Department said code enforcement inspections typically occur when someone makes a complaint about a property. Details of the complaint were not made available Thursday.
About a dozen residents gathered in the building’s lobby as they waited to get back into their apartments. As they spoke to one another, a cockroach crawled toward a woman with a walker. She casually stomped on it.
The exterminators are working to clear one floor at a time. The building’s owner, Mitch Meyer, said he expected the process to be done by next Friday. The residents on the floors treated Thursday were asked to leave their apartments from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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Meyer said none of the building’s 105 residents reported the bug problem.
One woman, who asked not to be identified out of fear of being evicted, said she first noticed a line of bedbugs on her white comforter over two weeks ago. When she removed the sheets, she found them all over her mattress.
“Bedbugs are everybody’s problem,” Meyer said. “We’re just going to have to inspect a lot more often and be trained on how to really spot bedbugs.”
Meyer said he hopes his misfortune encourages others to be more proactive to prevent the spread of bedbugs. He advises against accepting used mattresses or upholstered furniture and encourages people to report bedbugs as soon as they notice them.
Patricia A. Campbell, a HUD spokeswoman in Fort Worth, said the Aurora was inspected by the federal agency in February 2016 and “did very well.”
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“At that point, it didn’t appear to be what it is now,” Campbell said. “We’re going to continue to monitor the situation until it’s taken care of.”
Schliesinger said Metro Health would conduct another inspection early next week.
“Metro Health and the Department of Human Services are assisting the residents, we’re providing meals and some clothing for them,” she said.