Community helps residents of troubled apartment complex

A Rolling Hills resident is frustrated with the quality of the water supply so he decided to protest to bring attention to the issue on Tuesday

Community helps residents of troubled apartment complex
July 14
10:00 2016

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



Residents are helping out families who live in the Rolling Hills Apartments in Winston-Salem following reports that more than 90 units in the 110-unit complex have housing code violations.

Following an inspection, city officials found a number of disturbing issues, including sewage backup, rodent and bug infestations, mold, leaky toilets, faulty smoke detectors, and broken air conditioning units.

While the future of Rolling Hills was discussed earlier this week, community members, organizations and other residents have been collecting water, food, hygiene products, clothes and other items to donate to families who live in the East Winston complex that houses mostly low-income families.

One of the organizations on the front line helping residents is a group called Social Hearts, an organization that feeds the homeless in the area.

According to organization founder Cedric Allen who was posted just outside the entrance of the complex Monday evening, many of the families have been exposed to unfit living conditions for more than six months.

Allen said, as a native of Winston-Salem, when he heard about the conditions at Rolling Hills, he felt it was his duty to lend a helping hand.

“When I was growing up, my mother and father taught me to have empathy and give back to your community, to be involved. We have to do more than just talk; we have to be there.” Allen continued, “After hear-ing about the conditions in Rolling Hills, I felt this is something I had to do.”

While Allen’s generous giving began in the parking lot of the complex, shortly thereafter property management called the police and accused him of inciting a riot. Allen said that the landlord, Jeremy Cox, decided to involve law enforcement after Allen refused to give him water and food that was intended for the residents.

But Allen wouldn’t let that stop him. Instead of giving up, Allen moved just outside the entrance, where a homeowner agreed to let the organization continue their service to those in need.

Although the landlord and representatives from apartment complex owner Aspen Companies declined to comment on the incident, Allen said he would not let negativity stop him.

“We’re not going to let them stop us,” said Allen.

“We just want justice. These people need help.”

Today, the Winston-Salem Federal Credit Union is also scheduled to drop off items to families in need. According to a social media post, along with food and water, the bank also donated towels, bedding and sanitary items.

During a media conference with the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity (MCWSV) last week, city officials announced that Aspen Companies could face fines up to $350 per day, per unit if repairs aren’t made in a timely manner.

“These are unacceptable conditions that you wouldn’t want your family to be involved in,” said Mayor Allen Joines as he stood behind a podium inside the City Council Chamber.

“This is an area that we are very serious about,” he said. “If the property owners don’t do what they need to be doing, we are prepared to take the legal action.”

Joines also noted that they have had issues with management in the past. In February the city issued a nuisance abatement complaint against property owners citing numerous housing code violations and law enforcement issues.

As of today, Thursday, July 14, owners of the Rolling Hills Apartments Complex, located on Ferrell Court just off New Walkertown Road, have 13 days to make improvements to living units or vacate the property.

Outside of the Minsters’ Conference, other faith-based organizations and churches have joined the effort to help residents as well, including St. Paul United Methodist Church, which is located less than a mile from the complex.

The Rev. Omar Dykes, MSWSV member and pas-tor of St. John C.M.E. Church, said the conference is pleased with the efforts of city officials and residents.

Third Vice President the Rev. Alvin Carlisle noted that anyone who is looking to help with donations can contact the Ministers’ Conference by calling 336-422-6066. He mentioned that although the giving has been generous so far, families are still in need.

“We want the community to know that we are aware of this situation and we are doing everything in our power to help those in need,” Carlisle said.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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