Florida -- Some days it's just too much to bear for Melba Chapin. The
single mother-of-three says she's tired of paying for someone else's
mistakes when it comes to her apartment home.
"I hate it," Melba tells 10 News. "To pay what we have to and they don't care. They don't even care."
and her children live at The Park of Barrington Place apartments off of
U.S. Highway 19 in Holiday. She is frustrated, fed up, and ready to get out of the complex.
"It's awful, looks like gonna fall down," she admits.
Melba says that life at the apartment complex is, well, no holiday at well. In fact, she says it's miserable.
It was one week ago that she and her children, one of them
mentally disabled, were evacuated in the middle of the night along with roughly 80 other residents.
"You don't pay $755 a month to live here. Two-bedroom house, apartment, with kids and look like this," Melba said.
spending four nights in a hotel across the street, residents like Melba were finally able to
come home over the weekend. Management was footing the hotel bill and promised big changes when residents returned home.
But, Melba claims they didn't deliver.
"They're saying it's okay. 'We're working on it.' But they're not working on it," she said.
Management made good on part of their promise. Crews
came out and put up scaffolding, since water intrusion was causing
balconies to crumble.
But now? Nothing.
Work has come to a standstill, stopping
altogether, and residents don't feel safe. They tell 10 News that no construction crews have been working over the last several days. "We thought this place would be buzzing Monday morning after we got back in over the weekend, and it's completely quiet. Nothing," said Pam Saccone. "I'm moving out."
She added, "They're not telling me anything. NO communication whatsoever. Then, they say, 'Don't worry it's taken care of.'"
So, we confronted management ourselves.
We waited in the apartment complex office to speak with management. Paul Iannazzo, a regional manager, finally came out and spoke with us. We explained how residents do not feel safe. He told 10 News something that sounded very similar to what he told residents. "It's okay. They are safe. We're waiting for engineers to finish their plans. The building is safe."
But, earlier when we checked with Pasco County, building inspectors told 10 News they were the ones waiting on management to apply for permits. "We are waiting for them to get permits to begin doing the demolition and work on the stucco. But, the building and balconies are safe," said building inspector Tim Moore. "We are waiting on them."
Still, that is not enough for residents who claim they feel nearly claustrophobic with scaffolding everywhere, some of it seemingly blocking exits. "Do you see that?" they asked. "We couldn't leave if we wanted to. That stuff is blocking our way out to load furniture in the elevators. We are trapped," said one woman.
We asked Melba, "Do you feel lied to?"
With a weary sigh, she nodded. "Lied to every day," she says.
Pam added, "Total disgust. Absolutely, total disgust."
The management at the complex promised 10 News that work was being done and that they would continue to listen to residents' concerns about the property. One manager was heard telling a resident, "It's a free country. You can leave. We will transfer you."
That resident confided in 10 News saying, "We don't transfers. We want the problems to be fixed. This is our home."