12
Fri, Apr

Why Are Residents at Reflections Being Blown Off by Housing Authority, EAH Housing, and the NE Division of the LAPD?

THE EASTSIDER - A few weeks ago, I met with some tenants of an LA City Housing Authority owned facility in Eagle Rock, who have serious issues of neglect and indifference by HACLA and the police department.  They were also afraid of retaliation if they pushed too hard for help, and many of the tenants are Senior Citizens.  I think they’re right. 

The Facility

According to EAH Housing’s own website:

Built in 1970, Reflections on Yosemite Apartments is located in a beautiful nature setting in Eagle Rock and is close to Pasadena, Glendale and Highland Park. The three-story senior (55+) community consists of 100 rental apartments (8- Studio, 92 1- BR) with 100 covered parking spaces for residents, five visitor parking spaces, two loading zones and two handicap-accessible spaces. Reflections on Yosemite Apartments is near grocery stores, restaurants, public transportation. Each apartment includes AC, wall heater, hardwood floors, balcony/patio. The community has a full-time Activities Coordinator for our senior residents who arranges activities such as coffee socials, movie days, field trips, and more. Reflections at Yosemite offers affordable housing to qualified applicants meeting low income and other program requirements” 

Unmentioned in their description were some changes.  Again from their website, we have the following:in 2020:

“This April, ACOF became the newest client of EAH Housing, adding 504 affordable housing rental units for seniors, veterans, and permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless people to its management portfolio.” 

Anyhow, when I met with the tenants at Reflections at Yosemite, two things were clear.  First, the kitchen was shut down and being used for storage, and second, the Management Office was closed as well. 

Issues

In contrast with the ads, here are highlights of the tenants’ difficulties with HACLA and EAH Housing Management.  First, it appears that the local managers that EAH hires don’t last that long. There has evidently been a parade of managers, who do not manage with the same set of policies. 

Further, those managers are often absent during office hours, and the office is closed. 

And now that the facility accepts Section 8 applicants, there is a question if the posted hours meet Section 8 requirements. 

A number of tenant facilities are no longer available, like being locked out of the kitchen and blocking access to the tenant bulletin board. It would seem to be simple to fix them and unlocking the bathrooms in the Community room seems pretty basic. 

Maintenance issues, along with decreased safety/security, seem more critical. I am told that the east entrance door to the laundry room is open to anyone because the lock has not worked for over 3 months.  The laundry room also has issues like being consistently dirty (both the machines themselves and the floor).  There also are no paper towels and the anti-bacterial containers on the wall are often empty.  Evidently the machines themselves are way past due for replacement. 

More basic, I am told that when the rains come, many of the apartment windows leak and often don’t get repaired. 

I am in the process of checking with the LAPD Northeast Division, but tenants report that there have been 2 stabbings, 5 assault & batteries, and many burglaries over the years.  

Finally, while the EAH website mentions a full-time activities Coordinator, there is evidently no such person.  I quote:

“The community has a full-time Activities Coordinator for our senior residents who arranges activities such as coffee socials, movie days, field trips, and more.” 

I could go on, but you get the point. 

I also attempted to reach out and verify the information. 

HACLA

Since I’m aware that the monster called HACLA blows everybody off that they can, tenant or no, I started out with a Public Records Act request. Since the Reflections at Yosemite was owned by HACLA, I requested a copy of the contract between the Authority and EAH Housing, who was listed as the contracted vendor for the facility. 

I was right. I was directed to the “Asset Management Department” and EAH.  So, I sent them the same email and am still ‘waiting for Godot’. 

A superficial look in time for this article leads me to the conclusion that HACLA has basically spun off their property/facilities management to EAH Housing, which in turn provides services to hundreds of HACLA properties. 

They in turn hire local managers for the individual properties, and if the tenants are right, managers shuffle in and out, often lacking the support they need from EAH. Result - high turnover, inadequate support, and very high turnover with the local managers.  Implied in all this is too many cases of no manager on site at all. 

The Takeaway

It may be that Reflections at Yosemite is not a priority because it is located in a relatively good part of town, in Eagle Rock near Pasadena.  Representative Jimmy Gomez even bought a home nearby. 

Even so, friends provided me with some call records from the Northeast Division of the LAPD, and we’ll see how safe or how responsive the LAPD is to this facility. 

Also, in a strange move, in mid 2021 HACLA transferred ownership of the facility from HACLA to LOMOD.  It was a transfer from the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, to Los Angeles LOMOD South, Inc, a non-profit public benefit corporation and Instrumentality  of the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, a public body, corporate and politic.” 

Whatever the hell that means.  Mayhap a real estate maven could enlighten me? 

And finally, you’ll love this one. If you go to the HACLA website, here’s what you see at the top:

Technical Difficulties

The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (“HACLA”) is experiencing technical difficulties. We are working to investigate the source of disruption and restore full functionality to our systems. During this time, you may experience issues related to the services that HACLA provides. Thank you for your patience while we work through these issues.” 

Stay tuned...

 

(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.)