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Tenants at Riverside Senior Apartments say concerns about heat, cleanliness, maintenance aren't addressed

Posted at 7:56 PM, Jul 01, 2024

FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — Seniors at Riverside Senior Apartments in Fond du Lac say they’re overheating with broken air conditioning units, dealing with unclean common areas, and unanswered maintenance requests.

Tenants said despite asking management to address the issues, their concerns haven’t been taken seriously by property owners.

  • Tenants at Riverside Senior Apartments say their concerns aren't being properly addressed.
  • Property owners said they're working with the seniors.
  • Video shows the seniors' concerns and management's response.

Barbara Dorn has been living at Riverside Senior Apartments in Fond du Lac for the past 10 years. I first met the 83-year-old former nurse in June, who said a lot has changed since she moved in.
"It's a shame the way they have let things go," Dorn said.

Dorn said within the past few years, property owners haven’t been maintaining the building properly. She claims her air conditioner isn't functioning properly, and on hot days, she can't even open her window. She said the window has been broken for two years, despite several maintenance requests.

"Seniors do have rights," Barbara Dorn "We have rights to live in a clean, safe environment."

She also said common areas are often dirty, with stained carpets and cobwebs.

"I want a clean place that when friends come and my son comes for a visit, I can feel good again that I live here," Dorn said.

But she isn’t the only one who told me about issues at Riverside.

Mark Stolfa, another senior living at Riverside, said he’s begun helping other residents when their maintenance requests go unanswered for too long.

"That shouldn't be my responsibility," Stolfa said. "I'm not the maintenance person here."

Tenants tell me air conditioners in the hallways also don’t work properly.

I noticed thermostats in common areas reading up to 15 degrees warmer than the temperature at which they were wet.

Riverside is a low income housing tax credit property (LIHTC), meaning it’s overseen by the WHEDA, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

John Thompson, another tenant, has reached out to WHEDA several times in the past month but says he doesn’t know what substantive action WHEDA has taken.

"In my experience, it's been nothing but just frustration, anxiety," Thompson said.

I reached out to WHEDA, who declined an interview, but said they’re working with property managers to address the AC units and are following up on other concerns.

The property is owned by Volker Property Developer.

In an email, Volker president Adam Hanson told me they’re aware of resident concerns and said, in part, "While the level of communication surrounding our responses to the maintenance requests recently may not have been satisfactory for them, we are committed to addressing their concerns."

Hanson said employees have inspected the AC units in question, and are in the process of addressing other concerns.

I tried calling Hanson to ask about repairs, but couldn't reach him by phone or in person when I stopped by Volker's corporate office last week and again on Monday.

The manager of the Riverside Leasing Office told me no comment and to reach out to Volker.

On July 1, I spoke again to Dorn and Stolfa.

They say Volker did provide portable units to some of the apartments, including Dorn's and Thompson's.

They also said that since I began reaching out to Volker a week prior, they've been contacted by Volker management, who told them they're working on the issues.

But for now, Dorn and Stolfa said they're not convinced.

"You can't take this place at their word," Dorn said.

I've requested documents from WHEDA asking just how much Volker has received in low-income housing tax credits, and am still waiting to hear back.