Solutions to widespread mold issues in Portland apartments fall short, residents say

The complaints were raised over widespread mold issues at East Bayside Apartments, managed by the Portland Housing Authority.

Residents and staff are calling attention to difficulties relocating after mold was found in several buildings at East Bayside Apartments.

In February, NEWS CENTER Maine spoke with residents who had been living with severe mold issues in their apartment buildings, after they said the Portland Housing Authority, which manages the buildings, was stalling to take action and find a solution.

The housing authority has since investigated the problem and hired remediation consultants to examine the building, install air filtration units, apply foam insulation and vapor membranes in basements and crawl spaces, and modify existing sump pump systems.

But during that process, property manager Baba Ly said many residents are still living in buildings with mold issues and sufficient options to relocate have not been given.

“[It’s] very surprising, and [I’m] very shocked because I was not expecting this. I was expecting we were going to move forward with finding a solution,” Ly said.

Resident Valentina Perfilieva said the first option she was offered was not ADA-compliant. The second option offered was Franklin Towers, but she worried about what could happen if the elevators went out in the 16-story complex.

“‘You should move to this house, go ahead,’ like that,” Perfilieva said, recalling how the housing authority advised her. “This building is always surrounded by policemen, ambulance, and firefighter[s]. What if the alarm starts ringing? What can I do? I cannot walk.”

Ly brought those concerns to upper management but told NEWS CENTER Maine he was advised to relocate residents there anyway.

“Another alternative would be to place them in a hotel, temporarily until we find appropriate places which Portland Housing did not want to do,” Ly said.

Ly has been placed on administrative leave. He said he was told it was because of poor performance, but he believes he is being retaliated against.

“The housing laws are very clear, and we have procedures we have to follow … and that’s all I did,” Ly said. “I did a great job, with a lot of improvements I did here, and there’s no record that proves I did otherwise.”

NEWS CENTER Maine reached out to the housing authority with questions and was told that although representatives could not speak about staff or tenants in specific, “HUD requires that residents have due process when being asked to relocate, and every effort is made to accommodate residents’ needs.”

As well, staff are, “working through the process with our residents and working hard to minimize the hardships associated with moving,” the housing authority said.
Article source: Portland residents face housing difficulties, mold infestation | newscentermaine.com