Call 4 Action: BMHA responds after tenant’s Facebook video goes viral

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Jeanette Knightner and her son have been living in truly squalid conditions. It is no fault of their own.

Their apartment in the Perry Homes is neat and clean. But, the paint is peeling, the walls are sagging, and there is evidence of mold.   

They contacted an activist who frequently posts on social media, and that got News 4’s attention.

Jeanette says it has been like this for years. When the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority dispatched a work crew.. Jeanette says everything was superficial.

“They were just trying a quick touch up so I can shut up, and that is what basically happened. Now, it is just peeling from everywhere, everywhere,” Jeanette told us. 

Jeanette went on Nat Boyd’s Facebook Live to show the awful condition of her apartment. 

After the post, a BMHA manager came to see her. Now, the housing authority is taking action.

“Manager came here, told the neighbor next door that they are having the same horrible problems that they have to move everyone out of this particular building,” said Nate.

That is Jeanette and 4 other families the BMHA is relocating to make the necessary repairs to their building.

So, why are the tenants in these public housing units living in these kinds of conditions, month after month, year after year which possibly jeopardizes their health?

Former BMHA commissioner Joe Mascia says they are worried about retaliation.

“Some of the residents live in fear of retaliation if they complain, and I keep saying if you complain they have to respond, but you have heard the new manager say that people don’t complain. That is the biggest problem they have is, they don’t complain,” said Mascia. 

Mascia says it is illegal for landlords to retaliate against tenants who are exercising their rights for safe living conditions.

But proving retaliation is sometimes hard to prove.

BMHA housing developments also have tenant councils.

These are supposed to do the fighting for them.

If you live in BMHA housing, you should contact your local tenant leader.

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