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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Seniors raise post-Sandy safety concerns
(Page 2 of 3)
Courtesy Facebook
Annie LaSalle in December with James Hodge, far right, who was among the many volunteers who delivered food and supplies to the residents of 415 National Blvd.

She said that the building was without elevator service until about a month ago, when the smaller of its two elevators was restored. Many tenants have breathing problems, and carry oxygen tanks or are in wheelchairs, and the working elevator is very small, she said.

Last week, LaSalle added, two tenants had to be taken to the hospital, and paramedics couldn’t fit stretchers into the elevator. They had to put them in wheelchairs to bring them down the elevators.

Goodman said he did not see this as a safety hazard, because emergency workers have been more than willing to carry residents down stairs, and the Housing Authority has provided residents with information about people who can help them in an emergency. “This is not something that anybody is ignoring,” he said.

Tenants’ other main concern is security. Under normal circumstances, a visitor must be buzzed in by a tenant. A new intercom system has been installed, but is not yet functioning. Goodman said that Verizon still has not hooked it up. But LaSalle said that people have entered the building who don’t belong there, and tenants are being harassed.

“People are ringing our doorbells at 3 a.m.,” she said. “It’s really scary.”

LaSalle said that she and other tenants want the Housing Authority to hire a security guard to monitor the building’s entrance until the intercom is fixed. Goodman said that nothing had occurred yet that he thought warranted a security guard, and he added that if tenants feel unsafe, they always have the option of calling the police.

Asked about LaSalle’s reports of strangers in the building, Goodman said, “If that’s a concern, then they are trespassing and the tenants can call the police.” He said he had not received any calls from residents reporting trespassers.

Goodman said that he spoke with Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney last Thursday, and asked him to alert officers to the security situation in the building and request that they stop in on their rounds.

LaSalle said that when she and her fellow tenants call the Housing Authority, they are hung up on or given the runaround. “They’re very evasive in their answers,” said LaSalle. “They know that they’re wrong.”

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