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DIGGING DEEPER: Section 8 housing resident voice concerns with living conditions

TUCSON - A Tucson woman was about to become homeless six months ago.

The Digging Deeper team told you her story and how difficult it was to find housing under Section 8.

The 75-year-old grandmother was forced out of the apartment she had called home for more than a decade because investors bought the property and raised the rent.

Lily Rose Krugly found a place to live shortly after our story aired last August. She is one of the fortunate ones.

There was and still is a housing shortage for low-income renters.

But for the last six months, the Tucson house has been home for Lily Rose. 

She lives in one of the 407 units.

The building is the tallest residential complex in Tucson. 

It was built in 1960 a luxury high rise.

The city bought it in 1979 and converted it to public housing for elderly and disabled.

“At the end of the day, when all is said and done, I am so grateful to have a roof over my head,” Krugly said. “I just wish it was a different roof.”

That's due to some of the problems she says exists, especially now with the coronavirus.

 “I even talked to the manager, a wonderful young man, a couple of days ago and he agreed with me that this place is a Petri dish of germs,” she said.

She claims the building isn't clean and sanitized including places such as the elevators. 

“That button in that lobby to get the elevators, how many times a day is that handled and when was the last time it was sterilized?” Krugly said.

She said sanitizes everything before she touches it.

“Things could spread in this building like wildfire,” she said. “There is a roach problem in this building. I have them. There are mice, there are. I heard bed bugs.”

Krugly says many of the elderly residents at Tucson house are extremely susceptible to viruses. She said the coronavirus is especially concerning.

“I'm at the scary top of the list of someone who could die from this,” she said.

Councilman Steve Kozachik is trying to find solutions to the Section 8 housing problems, as well as making all city buildings safe.

“Within the last few days, the city has put out memos and so has the county health department with respect to protocols as a result of the new coronavirus,” he said.

That includes the Tucson House.

“Extra ‘all hands on deck’ kind of approaches so she is concerned, the residents are concerned and so is the city,” he said. “This is falling on deaf ears.”

Earlier this week, Kozachik sent a note to the mayor and city manager requesting handwashing stations, sanitizer cleansers outside all city facilities and public housing places such as the Tucson House. 

“A new horizon for everybody,” he said. “Tucson House, as well as our public housing, are getting that white-glove treatment that all our public facilities are getting in the new day of corona.”

Kozachik says he will continue to work on getting more affordable housing.

He says there is a waiting list, and there's more of a demand than housing is available.  He is meeting with section 8 property owners to find out how the city can keep them in place.

These meetings are not open to the public because he says this is between the homeowners and the city. 

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

Paul Birmingham

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