A Dallas City Councilman Thursday stepped into the feud between tenants and management at an apartment complex for seniors by holding a town hall meeting.
The Fiji Senior Apartments at 11th Street Near Corinth Street were built 7 years ago with the support of tax credits endorsed by the City of Dallas.
Since then, tenants claim problems at the building have been overlooked by private managers and the city.
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The problems involve security, maintenance, cleanliness and fairness according to Tenants Association President Sharon Wright.
“We want to work with management. We tried to work with management, but every time we’ve had no luck,” Wright said.
Vice-President Willie Hunnicutt said the management has fostered fear of retaliation and eviction for making complaints.
“The retaliatory tactics is really backfiring because all its doing is firing us up,” Hunnicutt said.
Tenant Sheryl Evans said a new manager has imposed new schedules and limited hours for common facilities in the senior complex.
“We are all adults over here, so why do we have to have a 10 o’clock curfew,” Evans asked.
Fiji Manager Amara Oji said she was just elevated to the top position at the complex in January after working there since 2015. She admits some past managers made tenants feel threatened but denied that is her approach.
“I don’t know where that’s coming from, I really don’t,” she said. “I hope that this meeting will enlighten everyone on our intentions which from the beginning have always been to provide a quality, beautiful place for you to live and reside in here.”
Oji said she has followed a new policy since becoming manager. Tenants are now expected to pay for repairs if they are accused of causing damage.
“It’s something they have to be held accountable for. So that’s something that is kind of new to them this year,” Oji said.
Residents complained of frequent flooding but Oji said residents are largely to blame.
“We’ve had quite a few residents who can’t get past the habit of pouring grease down the drains and that causes blockage,” Oji said.
The tenants spoke at a Dallas City Council meeting a month ago and neighborhood Councilman Dwaine Caraway scheduled a 6 p.m. town hall meeting for tonight at the building in response.
“All they have to do is come out of their house, down to the lobby so we can hear and address their concerns,” Caraway said.
The Councilman said representatives from Dallas Code Enforcement, Fair Housing and Police would attend the meeting. A code inspector was on the property an hour before the meeting.
“Then of course and we’ll follow up,” Caraway said.
Tenants at the complex must be 55 years of age or older. They receive reduce rent based on their income.