Versie Williams lived at Dahlia Square Senior Apartments in Northeast Park Hill for about seven years. She’s lived in the neighborhood since 1962, and when the Affordable Housing Complex for 62+ opened where the Dahlia Square Mall used to be, she knew she wanted to live there to be close to her mother.
The advertised features of the building also appeased Williams. She said the apartments were equipped with central air conditioning, a microwave, a dishwasher and a garbage disposal.
But lately, Williams and residents of the apartment complex say they’ve been let down by management and the “advertised features” have become just lipstick on a pig. Residents said they expressed several concerns to the building’s management company, ComCap Management, about safety and living conditions at the complex, but their complaints fell on deaf ears.
“Once one of our doors was on the floor, we complained and it took them over three weeks to fix that door,” Williams said. “We have always complained, but the management is closing its ears. I hope and wish and pray that they finally do something about this building because it was a nice place to live, and we want to come back to it.
So on Monday, a dozen tenants, some with walkers, gathered outside the entrance to the building armed with signs reading “Security Guards Now!!” and “Fix Locks on Security Gates” and “Stop the Elder Abuse”. The tenants, with the support of the East Denver Residents Council, staged a protest calling on ComCap to address their concerns and to do so in a timely manner.
“We need to do this kind of activity and bring this kind of information to the public, just for the management company to come on board and meet with us and talk about solutions,” said President Sekú, five-year resident and member. of the Residents’ Council.
Donna Stewart, who has lived at the resort since it opened, said: “I’ve been here 10 years. All of these concerns should be addressed immediately. We are tired of waiting.
The Residents’ Council is a registered neighborhood organization whose purpose “is to provide support to senior citizens and working families who live in east Denver.” Council Speaker LaMone Noles kicked off the conference by saying residents were “fed up with the lack of protection and safety”.
“After contacting management for unanswered meeting requests, tenants are taking their issues to the streets,” Noles said.
Residents produced several letters dated June and addressed to ComCap regarding their concerns and grievances. They asked for better security measures, including security guards, cameras and alarms on all entrance doors. They said intruders entered the building to steal packages and sleep in the stairwell. Residents have asked for better maintenance of the building, including backup generators for the elevators, which do not run periodically, cleaner waste areas, carpet cleanings and new ventilation systems. They also requested more social programs, such as bingo and movie night, as well as new equipment for the fitness and business center. Residents said none of these needs were met.
Sekú said the tenants created a GoFundMe account, so they could pay for the changes themselves. He added that residents want the city to investigate ComCap for “criminal abuse of the elderly.”
“We refuse to remain silent,” Sekú said. “We refuse to live like this. If this is how you treat your elders, then the children are in trouble because they have to expect continued oppression and a lack of voice.
ComCap President Michael Lengen and Vice President of Operations Chris Vargas said they were unaware residents held a press conference on Monday, although they received the letters from concern of residents.
Vargas said maintenance requests are usually answered within 24 to 48 hours, provided residents request them. He added that some of the concerns could not be met, such as an armed security guard, due to budget restrictions, but the company is considering a “courtesy patrol”.
Regarding the requested meeting, Vargas said management treats residents individually. Lengen added that group meetings aren’t productive and when residents have “specific concerns, we address them.”
“As far as we know everything is working fine,” Vargas said.