After a week without running water, residents of the Villas Del Solamar Apartments in Dallas say they finally got water back on Wednesday.
Since last week, many in the Dallas’ Vickery Meadows Neighborhood have been without water service.
“It’s ridiculous, it’s sad, it’s so sad,” said April Collins, who lives at Villas Del Solamar. “I haven’t gotten anything from the apartment, no letter, no nothing.”
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Since the outage the City of Dallas has been supplying water and basic amenities – opening up the nearby library branch for people to use the restroom.
“It’s disheartening that they have residents who are paying rent and they are not caring for them like they should,” said District 13 City Council Member Jennifer Staubach Gates.
Gates says she’s been disappointed by the lack of initiative taken by multiple apartment complexes to care for their residents. According to Gates, the remaining water issues stem from privately owned infrastructure that is not the city’s responsibility to fix. In recent days, she says the city’s efforts to help those in need has also been complicated by a lack of communication between apartment owners and city services.
“These apartment owners need to be reaching out and helping us get their residents water,” said Gates.
On Wednesday, the Villas Del Solamar issued the following statement:
“Our hearts are with all Texans as we all work together to recover from the devastation caused by Storm Uri. Our work on behalf of our apartment community residents has been and will continue to be nonstop. We have a full team of workers on-site doing everything they can day and night to restore water access. We have been actively working with residents to provide assistance while also working continually with local authorities to speed up the process in any way possible. Our 100% focus is on the safety and security of our residents. Since the moment the storm hit, and even before, we have provided ongoing updates, connected with local charities and resources to help people stay warm and fed, and done everything possible to provide water access, including arranging for a water bus and personally carrying in buckets of water from the water center across the street. Like all of Texas, access to many of the supplies and resources we need has been limited during this emergency time. That said, as stewards of our community and people who genuinely care about doing the right thing, we know it is vital that our residents continue to have a safe and secure place to live. We are doing and will continue to do everything possible to ensure that for the immediate and the long term.”
In a statement, Ian Mattingly, President of the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas said he believes it's important to consider the unprecedented damage sustained by apartment complexes.
"The Apartment Association has been working hand in glove with City of Dallas staff to identify and even deliver water and other supplies to affected residents. Asking our members to do more is all well and good, but ignores the reality of the scale of this disaster. No one faulted the owners in Houston for taking a week to return water to communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey, and this disaster is like Hurricane Harvey hit every community in Texas all at once. We ask our city leaders to continue to work with us and our members in addressing the numerous challenges our members are working to overcome in order to return our apartments to some semblance of normalcy."
The problems aren't unique to Dallas.
Tenants reported similar problems from Fort Worth to Plano.
Tuesday, residents of Bel Air Willow Bend in Plano filled up buckets of water and carried them back to their apartments which residents say have been without running water since Wednesday.
'This is too much... frustrating. Every day, from morning to night, we need water," said renter Kapil Gandhi.
Gandhi said he's been told his complex could be without water for another week.
Nearby, at another complex, Corina Garcia, said her water was turned off Thursday. She said she's getting by with bottled water but the crisis is complicating her recovery from COVID-19.
"So when they tell me, 'Oh, come use the facilities at the office,' it's like, right, I can just run right over there. I can't right now, I can't do that, I have a hard time just walking downstairs," Garcia said.