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Henrico leaders want to hear from Essex Village residents living in ‘unacceptable’ conditions

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is demanding corrective action within 90 days after once again finding "unacceptable" living conditions inside apartment units at the Essex Village apartment complex.

The news comes nine months after the agency originally gave the complex a failing inspection score and demanded repairs be made.

In a letter sent August 21 to the owner of Essex Village, Gregory Perlman of GHC Housing Partners, by HUD, Asset Management Division Director Brenda Brown revealed the Section 8 complex received a much improved inspection score during a new HUD inspection of the complex

In January, HUD gave the complex a score of 46c, which is considered failing.

Essex Village

During the most recent inspection on August 10, HUD gave the complex a score of 74.17 out of 100, which is considered passing.

However, HUD noted the inspection results for individual apartment units are still "unacceptable" and "represent a serious risk to the health and safety of the tenants."

Essex Village received 22.12 points out of a possible 44.26 points for apartment units.

In January, the complex received a score of 19.28 for apartment units.

CBS 6 Problem Solver investigator Melissa Hipolit visited the complex Thursday and went inside a resident's apartment.

The resident, who did not want to be identified, showed Hipolit a screen door that did not have a screen, a dirty ripped carpet, and an air conditioner that never seemed to cool the apartment.

She said her apartment and many others at the complex remain dumps.

While at the complex, Hipolit noticed work going on at several units, including new siding being put on some of the buildings.

After seeing the new scores, Congressman Donald McEachin sent a letter to HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson asking him to stop doing business with GHC Housing and its management company that manages Essex Village, PK Management.

It's the second time McEachin has made that request to Carson.

"My patience with HUD is running a little thin," McEachin said during a Skype interview from Washington, D.C.

HUD's letter demands corrective action within 90 days, but McEachin pointed out that HUD made a similar request after failing the property in January.

"Sadly they're giving them another 90 days to fix that which in my view is too long," McEachin said.

In an effort to speed up the process, Henrico County will send letters to residents this week asking them to call the county to request an inspection so the county can help resolve any health and safety violations.

The county cannot go into a unit without the resident's invitation, and County Manager John Vithoulkas said he wanted to see exactly what was going on inside the units.

"We have to know, and right now we don't know," Vithoulkas said.

They're asking residents to call 804-501-4374 to request the inspection.

The President of PK Management, Jenee McClain-Bankhead, said the company has spent four-million dollars so far on repairs at the complex.

She offered to give Hipolit a tour of the apartment units next week.

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