Apartment tenants say conditions are "appalling"

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE NEWS and Photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on September 19, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 19 at 5:40 PM

AUSTIN -- Tenants at a Southeast Austin apartment complex say the conditions they're living in are "appalling."

People who live at The Residences at Onion Creek say it is an affordable housing complex designed for low-income families, but they feel the conditions are unsafe, unsanitary and basically not livable.

Junk is already beginning to pile up Wednesday.

"I've seen dishwashers, washing machines, you saw the toilets, the tires. That's what we get," said one woman at the complex.

The recycling bin and trash compactor is the only drop-off location for more than 200 units at The Residences at Onion Creek on east Slaughter Lane.

"It's not safe. It's not healthy. It's not sanitary. It's environmentally wrong, and the people just don't care. You collect our rent, but you don't care," a resident said.

That tenant, who asked not to be identified, says she lives there because she has to. It's affordable since the property falls under a federal tax credit program, paid for mostly by private investors and taxpayers.

"I'm in school. I'm raising kids. I struggle to pay my rent," she explained.

After two years, the complex is not renewing her lease.

"As far as we're concerned, we're going to be in a hotel this weekend," she said.

Compared to what's she's experienced at The Residences, she says, that hotel doesn't sound so bad.

"It's embarrassing. You know, you have people come over and this is what you see, and this is not what I pay for. This is not what I pay to raise my kids around," she said.

An apartment manager tells KVUE the trash is picked up every Monday, and this is an especially busy time of year for moving. Despite notices on the recycling bin and residents' doors, she says some tenants continue to dump stuff where it doesn't belong.

"People dump trash in there. Where are we going to put it?" asked the resident. "I don't live in a hood. I elect not to live in a hood. This is what it is. You go home to your nice home, but we come home to this. It's wrong."

The woman and several others who also didn't want to speak on camera say it's been an ongoing issue for years, and they deserve better.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs oversees the property. Representatives visited the complex last September and say it scored a high standards review, but after KVUE called Wednesday, they will likely be visiting again in the near future. Code Compliance with the City of Austin says they are also investigating this issue.

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