Federal reports show Essex Village had the same problems for yea - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Federal reports show Essex Village had the same problems for years


Essex Village managers promised things are changing at Henrico's largest subsidized housing complex, but federal inspection reports show the same problems keep coming up.

On Thursday, crews were working to fix and clean apartments, the landscaping, and the playgrounds at Essex Village.

However, for some residents, like a single mom of three, who wishes to remain anonymous, says many renters are still waiting for a complete overhaul. 

She's afraid to be identified, but she wanted to show how she's been living for five years.

"It took six whole months for them to even bring me a brand new toilet," she said. The only reason why she said it happened was because she said Virginia Senator Jennifer McClellan toured the apartments on Wednesday and was appalled with her living conditions. 

She also says the carpet has not been changed since it flooded three or four years ago. 

"The roaches hibernate in it, of course," she said.

Since Essex Village and its managers, PK Management, have been in the spotlight, the mother of three says she has heard of other neighbors getting new cabinets and carpet. However, she says she put her name on the list but hasn't heard anything. 

NBC12 obtained reports that show what federal inspectors knew about living conditions at Essex Village.

Keep in mind that a U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development (HUD) inspector only looks at 26 randomly picked units out of a total of 496.  Year after year, there are roach and mice infestations, smoke detectors that don't work, entry doors that won't lock, countless reports of mold and mildew and bed

For several years, Essex Village scored low in federal inspections but passed, until this year when it failed with a score of 50.

HUD says it "reflected the deterioration of the property."  On top of issues already reported in previous years, the reports say there are emergency exits that are blocked, wires that are exposed, and in one of the apartments, it says the electricity doesn't work properly in the kitchen, bathroom and living room.

Since failing, PK Management has promised federal and Henrico authorities to spend whatever it takes to get the property in good condition.  But Congressman Donald McEachin previously said he wants to shut Essex Village down

The mother of three agreed with McEachin's message.

"It would be great if they can improve, but at the same time, I feel Essex had just run its course.  It should just be gone," she said.

Henrico County Deputy Manager Colonel Douglas Middleton is heading the task force to hold PK Management accountable. He says building inspectors now have double digit complaints on infestations and other maintenance violations.  He says inspectors said they don't understand how HUD could have done an inspection and PK Management corrected the issues based on the complaints they've seen. 

County leaders say they continue to push HUD to include them in the next federal inspection.


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