WILKES-BARRE — An apartment complex that’s been plagued by violence over the years is under new ownership in Wilkes-Barre.
On Saturday, Newswatch 16 got a first look inside Sherman Hills along with the so-called Sherman Hills Task Force as the new owners look to improve the situation there.
Both inside and outside Sherman Hills Apartment Complex in Wilkes-Barre, task force members got a look at how its new owners are taking steps to make this a safer place to live.
“What’s the answer? They have to do a better background check before they let people in.”
Congressman Matt Cartwright sat down with some residents to hear their side of things, after years of problems with violence and drugs here.
“It was a gripe session, and sometimes you have to engage in those to find out what the truth is,” said Cartwright.
The new owners, Treetop Management, are in the process of making changes including having a state-of-the-art video surveillance system.
The owners have made it clear there’s not enough money in the budget to have round-the-clock security.
“A work in progress. Going to take a long time. We’re here next 15 years. We are here for long term,” said John Van Metre.
Last year, the feds came down hard on Sherman Hills which was under former ownership and received government money to provide low-income housing.
One resident told Newswatch 16, it’s taken a long time to see something done about the problems.
“And now? After all this? All these shootings. People killing each other, he should have showed up earlier,” said Jean Bayyoud, resident.
While there may be new blinds on the windows at Sherman Hills, task force members believe it’s a change in culture that’s needed helping people who live here with more than just security.
“We have to support these endeavors just as much as we do concerns about fences, the cameras, this is just as important. If not the problem just continues to get worse and the community will suffer from it,” said Angel Jirau, task force member.
As far as the violations the Department of Housing and Urban Development found last year, task force members said Sherman Hills is on its way to fixing those problems but did not give Newswatch 16 the specifics.