Building and Strengthening Tenant Action
Buscando Acción y Solidaridad Que Transforme el Arrendamiento
Tenants Demand Justice for Trapped Neighbor
September 19th, 2018
Monday, September 10th 2018 - A car crashes into the front building 9 of TowneVista Apartments, knocking over a support beam and creating a safety hazard of scattered debris. The area of debris was tapered off with orange construction fencing, blocking the only entrance accessible to folks with disabilities.
Mr. Duffy, a 91 year old veteran and resident of building 9 who uses a wheelchair to get around, became functionally trapped in his apartment as there was no way for him to safely exit the building. By Thursday of the same week, management had not cleared the debris or installed a ramp for residents. They claimed that little could be done while insurance adjusters visited the site to assess the situation.
Since Mr. Duffy could not leave the building, the Strength of TowneVista Tenants Association advocated on his behalf by visiting the management office and demanding that the debris be removed that same day. Management responded that the matter was confidential, and that if Mr. Duffy had an issue he would need to go to the management office himself to complain.
Frustrated yet determined to get justice for their neighbor, the T.A. sought alternative measures to resolve the situation. They called Austin Code (311), who transferred the call to 911 and dispatched two Austin Police Department Officers. Upon arriving, the T.A. members explained the situation to the APD officers, who then spoke with Mr. Duffy and management to try and find a solution.
The next day, the Code Department was out inspecting and tenants reported significant work being done. By Monday morning, management has cleared the pathway and secured debris in the area so that all residents, including Mr. Duffy, have access to the building! Congratulations to the Strength of Towne Vista Tenants Association for representing the tenants concerns and getting justice for their neighbor!
BASTA is a non-profit project dedicated to helping Austin renters work together to improve the conditions of their homes and communities.