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Taft Homes residents respond to public housing inspection: “It’s just bad”

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Peoria, Ill. (WEEK) - A recent report from ProPublica found Peoria's Taft Homes failed three of its five most recent inspections by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Residents we spoke with say they aren't shocked by the report because the apartments need serious upgrades.

Breona Harris has only lived at Taft Homes for a year, but she says there are constant issues with her fire alarms going off in the morning and a hole welcoming other residents inside her wall next to the washer and dryer.

"Now we have bugs in here. I've seen a mouse in here since then," said Harris. "It's just bad. They won't come fix it and I've asked them to come patch it up. They said they don't need to patch it up and they also tried to blame me and my kids for the wall."

Harris says maintenance came with a plumber after she threatened to call the city because the wall has mold and looked like it was about to cave in. She says the plumber knocked down the wall and fixed the pipe, but there is still a large hole.

"I'm trying to leave next year. Yeah, it's bad here," Harris said.

Harris says everyone is fed up with their living conditions and something needs to change.

"Like my dad says these pretty much look like the same apartments from when we lived out here when he was a little boy. I feel like they need to do something and make it better or fix something because they don't fix anything. They won't even come when you call them about your toilet," Harris said.

Peoria Housing Authority CEO Jackie L. Newman says she is aware of the issues, but she says residents have to understand repairs will take time.

"We did submit a preliminary project application to the Illinois Housing Development Authority for a nine percent tax credit, so we are working towards trying to make changes at Taft," Newman said.

She says they just finished a roofing project at Taft around Thanksgiving. Now Newman says they can found on the deterioration inside.

"There is yet a lot of work to be done and we're here to roll up our sleeves and try to do that work," said Newman.

Newman says they are also working to get more federal dollars to help with improvements.

Mike Miletich

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