The finger pointing game between the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority and Shinda is leaving members of the Buffalo Common Council scratching their heads.
BMHA Executive Director Dawn Sanders appeared before the Common Council for a hearing Tuesday afternoon. The hearing was regarding the problems with heat and hot water at the Fredrick Douglass Town homes on Jefferson last month.
This was the first time Sanders spoke publicly about seniors in the housing, living weeks without heat or hot water.
7 Eyewitness News first shared the story of 71-year-old Bobbie Spencer. She was living in one of the town homes without heat and hot water. She was using her stove and oven to keep warm.
She reported it to Shinda Management Company that manages the day-to-day operations of the homes. Although Shinda manages the housing, BMHA owns the properties.
Shinda claimed to replace the outdated heating units it would cost more than $10,000. Any purchases more than $5,000 Shinda has to get approval from BMHA. BMHA denied the request to repair the heating systems in the homes, because the homes are set to undergo renovations by May.
However, Sanders with BMHA said it was the responsibility of Shinda to see to tenants having heat. If they didn’t have heat, they needed to be relocated immediately.
“BMHA is the owner of the property and we can make the decision as it relates to all aspects of the property. So ultimately, yes it ultimately it falls on us.” Sanders said.
“I’m going to be very honest. When we close this investigation I’m probably just as confused as when we opened it,” Buffalo Common Council President, Darius Pridgen said.
70-year old Spencer was not at the hearing. She told 7 Eyewitness News Shinda did try to help her. The company even eventually spent about $3,000 to get her heat working again. She thinks the blame falls at the feet of BMHA.
“The board members they need to get on the ball. I don’t know what the deal is or how much money they got, but we are paying rent. Anytime we are paying our parent we should be comfortable,” Spencer said.
The contract between BMHA and Shinda ends in August. IT’s unclear if the contract will be renewed. However, BMHA has the power to terminate the contract at anytime.