WILKES-BARRE – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has given the owner of the Sherman Hills apartment complex in Wilkes-Barre until the end of the month to respond to a report that management at the low-income housing complex is “unsatisfactory”.
Federal inspectors did not explain why the management of Sherman Hills was given an “unsatisfactory” rating, but officials did say that HUD “takes these acts of violence very seriously”.
“The report explains what the property owner is required to do by November 30, which is to respond to the findings in writing with the requested documentation and corrective measures that are planned,” the HUD statement said. “If the corrective actions in the report are not addressed, the owner may not be able to continue participating in HUD’s rental assistance program. “
Employees at the rental office at Sherman Hills in Wilkes-Barre told Newswatch 16 that they had no comment about HUD inspection report, or a deadly shooting in a parking lot on Monday that left a woman dead.
Mindy Koprowski said she left Sherman Hills and moved in with family members last month, to escape the violence.
“About February or March, there was a shooting in front of my door,” said Koprowski.
Jene Bayyoud told Newswatch 16 that she moved into the high-rise building at Sherman Hills last year, and she is now looking to get out.
“Along the pit area, it's not so great and that`s where everything is happening and that`s what's giving Sherman Hills a bad name,” said Bayyoud. “The management that are letting these people in, I don`t know if they`re not screening them right or they're just trying to fill the apartments so the owners get the money, but it's time to go.”
Several residents at Sherman Hills said they have not seen an increase in police patrols, but Mayor Tom Leighton told Newswatch 16 on Tuesday that officers have beefed up their presence in the troubled, subsidized housing complex.
“Our police department has done a fabulous job and they put their lives on the line every time they go on a call,” said Leighton. “I respect the job they do and I respect that the people have their opinions that the perception is bad. And it is bad. And it's my job to turn that perception around.”