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Tensions run high at Inkster Housing meeting, tenants demanding action

Posted at 11:23 PM, Jul 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-29 23:23:00-04

INKSTER, Mich. (WXYZ) — Emotions ran high Monday night at the Inkster Housing Commission meeting.

The Housing Commission Board and Inkster City Council met with frustrated tenants who said they've been living in deplorable conditions including cockroach infested apartments.

This planned meeting comes a week after Action News aired a story about a young mother living for months in a cockroach infested apartment with her two young kids. Since our story aired, the woman's unit was cleaned and she and her kids moved to a hotel temporarily.

Prior to that story, Action News reported on infestations in Inkster Housing in September of 2018. Several tenants told us the problems have only gotten worse.

Dozens of frustrated tenants spoke during Monday's meeting, which at times got extremely heated.

"The problems with the roaches. I've sent several emails about those. A lot of them go unanswered," said Andrew Carter, an Inkster Housing resident and president of the resident council.

A lot of the frustration was directed at the Inkster Housing Commission's Executive Director, Paul Bollinger, who took over the position in 2018.

The Commission said part of the problem is the mess inherited from previous leadership, including piles of incomplete work orders.

"We're just as devastated as you all are about the conditions," said Carolyn Smith with the Inkster Housing Board of Commissioners. The Board hires the Commission's Executive Director.

The Inkster Housing Commission is federally funded through HUD, and not run by the City of Inkster. Still, Mayor Byron Nolen said the conditions there are an emergency, one he wants to see fixed.

"It's all of our responsibility because if one of us is failing we're all failing," he said during Monday's meeting.

Executive Director Bollinger previously told Action News part of the problem is that tenants are not appropriately filling out work orders. That was also addressed during Monday's meeting.

"Why would you put in a work order when you don't get it done? So that goes to the hopelessness that people feel in these housing projects," said one of the meeting's attendees.

The Housing Commission said it's planning to re-evaluate all units again and is also working with the resident council to give tenants housekeeping classes.

"We are asking for your help," Smith said.