Living in a state of decay


A short-haired, black and white dog happily wags her tail and retires to a three-bedroom mansion at 1500 Caldwell Ave.

Her owner, OCH tenant Andrea Terry, says she has lived in this home and raised her now grown children for the past 23 years.

The living room – there is a futon, TV and bed – is painted bright blue with some decorations. Then there’s the big hole behind the bed.

A tour of the house reveals more hidden flaws, including missing kitchen drawers, broken electrical outlets, and mold on the walls.

Some of the damage to the house was caused by the kids growing up, Terry admits. Other things have broken down since the day she moved in.

“I’m ashamed to bring people here because of the lack of repairs,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking to me because I used to care about it, but now it’s like, why should they care if they don’t care about how you live?”

If urgent repairs are needed, they’re pretty good, Terry said of OCH’s maintenance staff, but you can expect to wait weeks, months, if not years to get anything else repaired.

“It actually makes me a little depressed, asking for help, having things done and getting nothing done.”

On the housing association’s website, staff strives to resolve urgent problems such as clogged toilets, broken elevators, broken locks or flooding within 24 hours.

For regular maintenance, such as leaking taps, cracked screens and cracked windows, it aims to fix them within seven working days.

Renovations or major replacements, such as bathtubs or kitchen floors, can take up to 60 days, and that needs to be planned.

“We cannot always guarantee these standards, but we always try to meet them,” according to the housing association’s website.

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