Help arrives for BMHA resident without heat or hot water for weeks

Posted at 1:38 PM, Jan 19, 2018

Less than a day after 7 Eyewitness News exposed a heating and hot water problem at a public housing complex, help is finally arriving for a Buffalo woman who has spent the past two weeks without heat or hot water.

A contractor is on site today, repairing the heating and hot water units that power 70 year-old Bobbie Spencer's BMHA-owned apartment on Jefferson Avenue.

Thursday night on 7 Eyewitness News at 5 and 6 p.m., Spencer told reporter Justin Moore she had been getting the runaround from the BMHA about the broken units, which forced her to boil water to bathe and use her oven to stay warm. Spencer has several physical disabilities. 

Spencer said she was told the units would be fixed by the summer and she would have to stay in her home until May, when repairs would begin. 

“We got some cold days ahead. How long can we go?” Spencer told 7 Eyewitness News Thursday night. 

Spencer said the management office gave her three space heaters and offered her a hotel room, but she’s afraid to leave because her home has been burglarized twice in the past while she was sitting in the living room.

According to BMHA officials, they are not responsible for the broken heating system. The authority tells 7 Eyewitness News that it contracted a third party company named Shinda to manage and operate the 87 housing units. The agency says Shinda is supposed to move tenants out of these units until the heating systems can be replaced. 

BMHA representatives said these housing units have old heating systems that are connected to the water.

Another complication: the systems are so old, parts are not made for them anymore. Shinda was expected to replace all the heating systems in the units this summer, which will cost about $10,000 each. 

Shinda could not be reached for comment.