Thursday, November 2, 2017
MoCo HOC under fire from East County renters
A resident who testified from his wheelchair in the audience said management of HOC-owned Alexander House is denying him the apartment unit he needs. Instead, they are placing him in a noisy, street-facing unit that will also hamper his escape route during fires. He recounted caretakers of other senior citizens and physically-challenged residents on his floor trying to bump them in wheelchairs down staircases during a fire evacuation this past year. If he wants a unit more suited to his needs, he would have to pay $500 more per-month in rent, he said management told him.
Residents who had complaints at one HOC building moved to the Oakfield Apartments off Georgia Avenue in Glenmont. The mother - through tears - and daughter told commissioners this was no improvement, complaining of bedbugs and a variety of other problems. Oakfield is not owned by HOC, but has received funding from the commission.
Commissioners had no comment on the unconfirmed allegations at yesterday's meeting. They instructed staff to speak to the complainants "offline" outside the meeting. Staff would then update the commission at a later time, they said. The accusations follow an embarrassing audit of HOC properties earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in which federal inspectors found 405 code violations. Montgomery County Councilmembers have failed to pass a lengthy list of rental housing reforms recommended by the County's Tenant Work Group in 2010.