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Over $7.5M federal cash goes to ‘unsafe, unhealthy’ local housing

HENRICO, Va. -- The Deputy County Manager for Public Safety in Henrico County said they plan to take action at another low-income housing complex managed by the same folks in charge of the under-fire Essex Village, even though the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development typically provides oversight of all Section 8 properties.

Multiple CBS 6 investigative reports of local PK Management properties, an Ohio-based company, have revealed multiple issues.

County leaders said the most recent discoveries at Hope Village have caught their attention after CBS 6 received a number of emails and text messages from residents that claimed residents are living in unsafe and unhealthy conditions.

Hope Village tenant

Shaunnie Hooper is one of the residents experiencing problems at Hope Village in Henrico County. Her air conditioning stopped working in early May, so maintenance brought a temporary unit over.

She said the unit would not stop leaking water all over her carpet, and the temporary fix to her problem has become another issue.

"I can't live here, not under these conditions,” Hooper said. 

Hooper and several others residents contacted CBS 6 about allegedly unsafe and unhealthy living conditions.

"You pick a random person, I guarantee you they have a story," Hooper said.

Hooper's neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said her kitchen ceiling collapsed at one point after a water leak.

Patch job on ceiling

"This is water coming from the ceiling, when the ceiling was ready to give way from upstairs," she said.

"This all the trash and stuff that was coming from the ceiling," the woman pointed out. She claimed the response from management took too long, and left her unable to cook in her kitchen for nearly two weeks

"I've put tickets in that I've got in here for two years and the issue still exists," the woman said.On Monday, June 5, she sent us a video that shows the ceiling leaking again.

On Monday, June 5, she sent us a video that shows the ceiling leaking again.

The woman also said her air conditioner broke last year and leaked all over her living room carpet. She claimed management never fixed the carpet so she personally spent $300 to remove it herself.

"It smelled like a sewer in here, it smelled like a sewer back up in here," the woman said.

Roaches at Woodland Crossing

PK Management runs two other Section 8 complexes that are the focus of an ongoing CBS6 investigation into unsafe living conditions: Essex Village and Woodland Crossing. The company receives $7,711,509 annually from the federal government to subsidize rent at all three complexes.

The most recent inspection report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development shows that in November of 2015, Hope Village received a score of 82b out of 100, which is considered a good score.

But residents we spoke with said the place needs to be re-inspected.

"Things are not repaired, a lot of broken promises," Hooper said.

During our visits, we found smoke alarms that needed new batteries, broken lights in hallways, and broken railings.

During our visits, we found smoke alarms that needed new batteries, broken lights in hallways, and broken railings.

CBS 6 Reporter Melissa Hipolit contacted County Manager John Vithoulkas and Deputy County Manager Colonel Douglas Middleton to appraise the apartment.

Middleton said they plan to get involved and hope to conduct their own inspection soon.

"I'm glad you called them. That helps us be more aware of a problem we didn't know about," Vithoulkas told resident Christin Hardy.

"Thank you, you're about to make me cry," Hardy responded.

The President of PK Management, Jenee McClain-Bankhead, told Hipolit via email that the same senior manager who oversaw Essex Village and Woodland Crossing was responsible for Hope Village too.He is no longer with the company.

He is no longer with the company.

In January, HUD awarded Essex Village a score of "46c," which is considered "unsuccessful."

Black substance growing on the wall at Essex Village

In the most recent inspection report for Woodland Crossing from HUD, conducted in October 2016, the complex received a score of "66b" out of 100, which is considered "successful." The score is just six points away from failing.

McClain-Bankhead said Hope Village is in better condition than the other two properties, but PK Management is still addressing deferred maintenance and meeting with residents who have concerns or requests for repairs.

In fact, after we told HUD about Hooper's problems with her air conditioning unit, they reached out to PK Management who immediately had someone fix her air conditioner and clean her carpet.

Lisa Wolfe, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said people should always contact their management company regarding repairs first, but if they need help resolving a security or repair issue, rent/recertification problems or even overflowing trash receptacles, please reach out to Navigate toll free by calling, 1.888.466.5572. Or, you can submit a request online through navigatehousing.com.

HUD payment to PK Management