Board of Aldermen President launches investigation into health and safety issues at senior apartments

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Board of Aldermen President, Lewis Reed, launched an investigation into what he called major health and safety issues at the Homer G. Phillips senior apartments in the North St. Louis.

Fox 2/News 11 went inside for a look around, Wednesday.

At first glance, the historic former hospital seemed beautiful, modern, and well-kept.

There are about 230 residents.

Resident Walter Deloch, 83, is the Vice-President of the resident’s association.

He loves the building and amenities.

Still, he and a half-dozen other residents who spoke to our news crew sited similar recurring problems:  hot water and heating outages, false fire alarms at all hours of the day, sporadic elevator breakdowns, even water pouring over electrical panels.

Deloch battled bed bugs, too.

“They bite you all night long,” he said.  “I had to throw away all my mattress and box spring; had to get rid of all that stuff and buy all new stuff.  They wouldn’t pay for it.  It’s not my fault, I didn’t bring them here with me.  But they’re here.”

“You’ve got mold, you’ve got mice, you’ve got roaches,” said Ward 4 Alderman, Sam Moore.  “People are afraid to speak out. They’re afraid they’re going to get put out of the building so they don’t like to speak up.”

He and Reed arranged for city health and building inspectors to look around Wednesday and conduct more detailed inspections Thursday morning.

Homer G Phillips spokesman, Owen Truesdell told Fox2/News 11 that residents were the top priority and that meant fixing every issue as quickly as possible.

“They’re not fixing them, they’re band-aiding them.  Throw a Band-Aid on it and then the next month you have the same problem,” Deloch said.

“We need to get into remediation with the management along with the City of St. Louis, the City Counselor’s office, the Mayor’s office, and sit down get this problem worked out,” Moore said.

Dominium, the Minnesota company that manages the buildings (which are owned by the City of St. Louis), looked forward to working with the city inspectors, he said.

Walter:  they’re not fixing them, they’re band-aiding them.  Throw a Band-Aid on it and then the next month you have the same problem.

Those inspectors make recommendations to President Reed for more permanent fixes in the coming days.