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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, July 11, 2018 1:00 am

FWHA to check units at Astoria

Online post hints at safety issues

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

A social media post about conditions at a southeast apartment complex has prompted inspections by the Fort Wayne Housing Authority, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

The agency is working closely with the landlord and property owners, said George Guy, the housing authority's executive director and CEO.

“This morning it was brought to our attention that the comfort and safety of individuals residing at Astoria Apartments & Townhomes has been compromised,” Guy said in a statement. “The health and wellness of families enrolled in our Housing Choice Voucher Program is of paramount importance to us.”

Formerly Section 8, the voucher program gives eligible families financial resources to rent available and affordable private-market houses or apartments. Assistance is based on a family's income, assets and deductions.

Records from the Allen County treasurer indicate the property is owned by a company called Astoria Apartments & Townhomes with a mailing address in Orangevale, California. 

Guy didn't elaborate on the living conditions at Astoria, which is on East Paulding Road near Hessen Cassel Road. Agency spokesperson Denise Herd couldn't provide details either but said a social media post concerned the housing authority enough to take proactive measures.

Few tenants could be seen outside the Astoria Apartments & Townhomes complex on Thursday afternoon, but large potholes dot sections of the buildings' parking lots and a section of units toward the rear of the property remain condemned from a previous fire. 

A video posted to social media Tuesday from outside one of the complex's building showed a large number of flies on the windowsill and blinds for one unit.

Through the window of another unit, the video showed a kitchen counter and sink in a severe state of disrepair. 

When approached Tuesday afternoon by The Journal Gazette, a staff member at the complex's leasing office told the reporter to leave the premises. 

The situation did not affect units occupied by those in the voucher program, and no complaints were reported by that population, Herd said late Tuesday afternoon.

Inspections are planned Thursday of units occupied by voucher program participants to ensure there are no issues, she said.

The housing authority is prepared to reissue vouchers to anyone affected should units not be repaired in a timely and satisfactorily fashion, Guy said.

Journal Gazette reporter Dave Gong contributed to this story.