Residents of a North Fort Worth apartment complex for seniors say they felt forgotten after last week’s storm left them without food and water -- until church volunteers came to their rescue.
“It’s been a stressful situation, very stressful,” resident Denise Day said.
Day and other people who live at Harmon Senior Villas in the 2400 block of Golden Heights Road said they went without water for four days. Then the pipes burst, collapsing part of a ceiling and sending water and debris everywhere.
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"It's been horrible,” said another resident, Jayne Carlock, 74.
The complex now has running water and electricity but the elevators aren’t working, stranding some residents who can’t use the stairs.
"It's like being in jail,” said Dusty Ford, a 77-year-old who lives by himself and is proud to be independent.
"It's so sad,” said Laurie Cooper, another disabled resident. “Just the little things you don't know you're missing. Water, you know what I'm saying? Water, food. You couldn't cook and stuff. Lost a lot of food. Had to throw it away. You know what I'm saying?"
When Margaret Seeley and other volunteers from Gateway Church first visited over the weekend, they found people without basic necessities.
"I was with a resident and they didn't think anybody was coming, that nobody knew they were here,” Seeley said. "It was extremely desperate. There were four loaves of bread and a thing of beans, of dry beans, out on the table yesterday that they were sharing. They did not have any water."
Gateway Church Executive Pastor Byron Copeland and church members swung into action, delivering fresh food, and helping however they could.
"Our part has been bringing hot meals and prayer and smiles and water when needed,” Copeland said.
Many residents criticized apartment managers who they said ignored their pleas for help.
"You call but they don't answer,” Carlock said. “You just get an answering machine and they don't call back."
The apartments, which received public affordable housing tax breaks, were built about three years ago.
The owner, Harmon Fund LP of Agoura Hills, California, could not be reached for comment.
The management company, Mayfair Management Group, said it answered phone calls “as they were coming in” and has updated residents “periodically.”
“This is a stressful time for our residents and our staff and contractors are working to address this issues (sic) as quickly as possible,” company president Susanne Kleins said in an email.
Kleins noted the company’s own office was flooded and had to close for a few days and thanked the church volunteers for their help.
Efforts are also underway to repair the elevators as quickly as possible, she said.
Residents agreed with the water back on, the situation is much improved.
"I'm so glad,” Cooper said. “At least we can hold our head up and see the light."