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Maintenance Problems At Concordia Place Housing Development Go Back Years, Rainbow/PUSH Working For Change

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Broken staircases, mildew, rodents – those are just a few of the reasons a Far South Side Section 8 housing complex has failed multiple city inspections.

We've been exposing the living conditions at Concordia Place for weeks. But CBS 2's Tim McNicholas has now discovered proof that the issues date back farther than that.

The people living at Concordia Place, at 13037 S. Daniel Dr. in the Riverdale neighborhood, said they have complained to the city for years about their living conditions.

"Management don't care about the way that we're living," said Tamara Jackson.

In February 2020, Concordia Place failed a city inspection for a "mice infestation." But people living near that unit say despite the violation the problems persisted.

One shared photos of mice stuck to traps from last fall.

"They feel like we're animals, and let us live like that. They don't care about us," Jackson said.

And then there's the mold in Jackson's place. She called the city in January of this year and they found multiple violations, including "mildew and water damage" – which is still there today.

The Department of Buildings said it completed an inspection at a Concordia Place building at 13048 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. on Jan. 27 in response to a 311 complaint and issued five building code violations.

"It just haven't started in January," Jackson said. "It's been for years – the covering of the mold; the drywall boards that they put over the mold."

Concordia Place failed one city inspection because of missing pieces on a staircase. That dates back more than two years, and there's still a piece missing.

We tried to ask management about the violations, but they wouldn't answer our questions.

The Section 8 low-income housing complex is privately owned by the New York-based Capital Realty Group. A Capital Realty Group spokesperson later told us some complaints are unresolved because tenants don't always let maintenance crews in.

But Jackson and the other tenants complain of harassment and inappropriate comments from workers. The tenants also said they have let maintenance crews into their apartments in the past – but that didn't solve the problems either.

"It's all patchwork. It needs to be gutted. It needs to be gutted. That's what we're begging for – to gut this place," Jackson said. "We're begging for that. It's in the walls."

Now, the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition is calling for a rent strike while they pressure the Capital Realty Group to address the problems.

"I will say that Capital has been working with us," said Cameron Barnes of Rainbow PUSH.

Barnes said management has agreed to fix the mold, mice, and mismanagement – but it could take months.

"We have to really pay attention to all corners of the city," Barnes said. "Everywhere in Chicago that there are citizens, we must pay attention to them."

As to whether everything will be fixed, tenants are less optimistic. Jackson said, "Not really sure."

Mika Stambaugh, speaking for Capital Realty Group, said in a statement:

"We are in the process of addressing and fixing all building violations. As for the residents you claim still have outstanding repairs, they have not allowed our maintenance team inside the unit to address the complaints. We are hoping for one hundred percent compliance from residents so we can properly finish all repairs. We are excited about the result of the ongoing meetings with HUD and Rainbow PUSH that were announced today. We feel this is the beginning of many great things for the Concordia Place community."

Meanwhile, the city DOB said it is working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure the building is in compliance with the Chicago Building Code.

We asked the city why they didn't do more to crack down on the deplorable conditions. A DOB spokesperson said none of the violations were dangerous or hazardous enough to warrant anything more than a warning.

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