Helen Henry has been a resident within the Opelousas Housing Authority’s Nicole Lane Apartments for many years. “I finally got a new ice box after being here for 18 years and they changed the windows.”
Henry says the housing authority has maintenance fees she can not afford. She’s concerned about being blamed for damaged property inside her home.
She says what’s broken is from normal wear and tear. “I’m going to give you 25 dollars and I don’t owe? It’s not my fault for something that’s going on in here.”
Henry says she’ll pay to repair what she has broken but not for things that have been falling apart year after year. “You got shorts and the switch inside the house; that don’t have nothing to do with us. So why do we have to pay for them to come fix the switch or come check the air conditioner or anything else that goes wrong in here?”
Henry demonstrates how an outlet is pulling away from the wall, a vent is fastened by tape and thumb tacks and a disconnected thermostat.
The Opelousas Housing Authority’s lease agreement states that damages caused by a resident shall be charged to the resident. “Call me at anytime.
She knows when I’m here and she knows when I’m not. Feel free to call me at anytime,” Jo Ann Tyler responds.
Tyler adds that maintenance charges vary city to city.