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Senior residents of low-income apartments in Durango watch as services decline

Retiree community with multiple vacancies has been without management for more than a year
Senior residents living at the low-income Cedar View Apartments in Durango say they have been without a manager for more than a year. Services have declined, and there are at least seven vacancies, according to residents. (Nicholas A. Johnson/Durango Herald)

Residents of Cedar View Apartments in north Durango are upset with the lack of management provided by Volunteers of America, which operates the low-income housing option for seniors 62 and older.

“We’ve been without a manager for a year,” said 83-year-old Cedar View resident Shirley Roberts. “Things have declined at a rapid rate.”

Roberts said the 29-unit building at 3160B East Animas Village Drive has as many as seven vacant apartments, most of which have been vacant for more than a year.

While numbers have not been confirmed with VOA, Roberts said she heard from a friend who recently applied to live in the building that the waitlist has 45 people on it.

Roberts and six other residents have written letters to the VOA about the vacancies, and other questions related to the lack of management they have seen on the property, she said. But they have yet to hear back.

“There are people out there needing a home, and they’re 62 and over,” Roberts said.

Cedar View Apartments resident Shirley Roberts knocks on one of seven vacant apartments in the 29-unit building that provides low-income housing to seniors in Durango. (Nicholas A. Johnson/Durango Herald)

VOA operates three senior living facilities in Durango. Cedar View Apartments I, Cedar View Apartments II and a third facility called Miremonte, which recently opened in Three Springs. The three low-income housing options for seniors are subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“Next door (the building over), which is part of this complex, there have been vacancies and they’ve rented them,” Roberts said.

The VOA did not return a phone call Tuesday seeking comment.

Along with not having a manager, the building has had only half of its maintenance staff members for more than a year. In the past, there have been two maintenance workers who take care of the buildings for the VOA, and currently there is one.

“Our maintenance guy is a good kid. He does a lot, but we’re sharing him with the two other buildings,” Roberts said. “He might be here a half day three to four times a week, if that much.”

Without a manager, the maintenance person is in charge of situations where residents lock themselves out of an apartment. But the maintenance person lives in Aztec.

Cedar View resident Joy Thibeaux said since the loss of the second maintenance person, cleanliness has been on the decline.

“When I first came, one of the things that attracted me was that the place was clean,” Thibeaux said. “Since I’ve been here, they don’t vacuum the rugs, they never clean any rugs, they don’t dust things. You’ve got to do that to keep things clean.”

Cedar View is a nonsmoking building, but with no manager on site to help enforce the rule, Roberts said some residents are smoking cigarettes on-site.

“A lot of people have health issues that are adversely affected by smoke,” Roberts said.

Roberts and Thibeaux said VOA has told them it is waiting to find the right person to fill the manager position. The VOA has a posting for the building manager position on its website.

njohnson@durangoherald.com

An earlier version of this story erred in saying the Volunteers of America didn’t have a job posting for a new manager of the Cedar View apartments on its website. The job listing is posted on its website. The error was made in editing.

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