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Inspections begin at Atlantic City apartment complex in crisis

Inspections underway at Atlantic City's largest public housing complex plagued problems
Inspections underway at Atlantic City's largest public housing complex plagued problems 02:46

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) -- The first day of inspections began Wednesday at Atlantic City's largest public housing complex in an effort to fix ongoing heat and hot water problems. This comes one day after the mayor decried the living conditions at Stanley Holmes Village as inhumane.

Inspectors are planning to look at all 420 units at Stanley Holmes Village to get an inventory of exactly how many apartments are lacking heat and hot water or have issues with mold or pests. As early as Monday, the city will send those results to the Atlantic City Housing Authority, which manages the complex, to fix the problems or face fines.

Rhonda Lewis was sitting in her living room when Atlantic City inspectors came to examine her home.

"That's fine with me, as long as they do what they gotta do. Fix whatever's broken," Lewis said.

Her apartment is among 110 units at Stanley Holmes Village that the city inspected on Wednesday. They used a handheld thermometer to check the temperature in every room.

While the heat and hot water are on now, Lewis says it's been on and off.

"Last month we had 3.5 weeks without heat or hot water," Lewis said.

Lewis resorted to using her oven to generate warmth. Another problem she's had is roaches and mice.

Inspectors documented and took photos of suspected mold and checked the fire alarm. It's a joint effort by the Departments of Licensing and Inspections and Health and Human Services.

"We will be combining the results together and get that over to the mayor," Jarrod Barnes, director of Atlantic City Health and Human Services said.

"This is the housing authority property, so we have been prohibited by law from doing occupancy permit inspections and so forth. It's HUD's responsibility, but if we found and we did find they're not performing properly, we decided to take action," Dale Finch, director of Atlantic City Dept. of Licensing and Inspections said.

HUD says the aging property has had challenges with its antiquated boiler system. 

In a statement, the agency says the Atlantic City Housing Authority "fixed/repaired/replaced boilers at Stanley Holmes the week of 11/14/2022, however, the cast iron pipes used to transport the heat and hot water have continued to fail."

"How about HUD just build a whole new system instead of keep building the old one?" Lewis said.

Stanley Holmes is scheduled to be torn down and rebuilt, but officials say it could take four to five years. In the meantime, some families have been offered vouchers to relocate.

Inspectors will be back out here Thursday to continue the inspections. 

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