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Two dozen residents complain to CHA about senior complex

Updated: March 21, 2013 6:29AM

Braving frigid temperatures, about two dozen elderly converged on the headquarters of the Chicago Housing Authority on Tuesday morning, demanding its intervention to address what they called despicable conditions at a South Side senior housing complex.

The residents of the Judge Slater Senior Housing complex — operated by the Rev. Leon Finney, CEO of the Woodlawn Community Development Corp. and pastor of the Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church — have sought unsuccessfully to meet with Finney.

On Monday, they invited Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell to tour the complex that is infested with rats, roaches and bed bugs and has a litany of other safety issues.

And on Tuesday, they came with their walkers, oxygen tanks and protest signs.

“Imagine having roaches in your freezer, refrigerator, and walking up and down the hallways. We have roaches and bedbugs in our beds,” complained 71-year-old Frances Banks, who has lived in the Judge Slater Annex almost 10 years. “We have mice . . . throughout the building. We also have fire extinguishers and emergency doors that are locked, making it difficult, if not impossible for residents to find safety in case of a fire, and safety concerns coming in and leaving the building at night because the parking lot has poor lighting.”

Alphonso Jones, a resident of the Judge Slater Apartments, said residents have mailed in excess of 30 letters to CHA, Finney and others, with no response.

“We have made three reasonable requests. Address the safety and health concerns of the residents of buildings Finney manages,” Jones said.

CHA spokeswoman Wendy Parks said Tuesday the agency would investigate the residents’ complaints. She added, however, that Finney and other residents who spoke positively about his company’s management of the complex attended Tuesday’s CHA Board meeting at the same time the senior citizens were protesting outside.

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