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Housing and Homelessness

Cathay Manor Tenants And Family Call For Fixes After 'Years Of Negligence' At Senior Housing Complex

A low angle showing buttons in an elevator.
(Photo by Jason Dent via Unsplash)
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Tenants are demanding a long-term fix to the broken elevators at Cathay Manor — a low-income senior housing complex in Chinatown.

They have also asked officials to address substandard conditions in apartments, laundry rooms and other parts of the property.

Diane Poon has a relative living in the 16-story building. At a recent town hall in Cathay Manor's courtyard, she asked how closely officials were tracking these issues.

"It's like years of negligence. So I was wondering where is the report of the inspection?"

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Adrian Vasquez, a representative from Congressman Jimmy Gomez's office, says an inspector from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development visited the building last month.

"It has one of the lowest scores that I've seen for health and safety and deficiencies," Vasquez said. "And they wrote a letter outlining what those deficiencies were."

HUD presented the letter to the building's owner, Don Toy, on Nov. 1. He has 30 days to make repairs. In the meantime, the city has stepped in by stationing a mechanic at one elevator around the clock, to operate the elevator through the control panel.

Toy and his non-profit, the Chinese Community on Aging Housing Corporation, face 16 misdemeanor charges for failing to maintain the buildings elevators in compliance with fire regulations.

He says he has found a contractor to fix the elevators, but has to wait up to two months for the right parts to come in from overseas. He also insists management addresses building problems as soon as they are notified of them.

L.A.'s Housing Department estimates that a permanent repair would take around three months for each elevator. A City Council motion to fund the long-term fixes is pending.

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