May 15, 2023

Lawsuit addresses continued safety and habitability issues at IHA property

The complaint comes as the agency continues to struggle. - Indianapolis Housing Agency

The complaint comes as the agency continues to struggle.

Indianapolis Housing Agency

Residents of Lugar Towers in Indianapolis are suing the Indianapolis Housing Agency, IHA, and building management Bradley Company. 

The complaint comes as the agency continues to struggle, and lists severe habitability and safety issues that have not been resolved at the apartment building.

Built in the 70s, Lugar Towers has struggled to keep up with myriad issues. The building provides low-income housing to many seniors through the IHA.  Indiana Legal Services senior attorney Jodi Velasco said many problems hinge on a broken security door.

“They are facing non-residents that come in who are violent – they’ve heard gunshots and people brandishing knives and people being stabbed,” Velasco said.

Velasco says that the door is currently fixed, but it has been an ongoing problem.  Other persistent issues include malfunctioning air, heating, and plumbing, bug infestation, and human waste in the stairwells. 

The lawsuit claims violation of habitability standards and breach of lease agreements.  Velasco said Indiana tenants have a right to what is written in the lease.

“That contact says all right, we’re going to have good safe working plumbing, elevators, a place to put our trash,” Velasco said.

Residents are asking for all the issues to be fixed.

Last summer, problems at IHA were heightened as residents at numerous IHA properties came to public meetings and said they were dealing with severe habitability issues.  The city provided IHA with more than $200,000 to address maintenance concerns. At the time, IHA estimated it was $10 million dollars in debt.

The agency helps an estimated 24,000 Marion County residents with housing, including 9,000 voucher recipients.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @JillASheridan.

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