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Changes coming to South Point Apartments after nonprofit shows up, KENS 5 asks questions

The Texas Organizing Project helped organize tenants to ask for change at South Point Apartments. Now the complex is making changes.

SAN ANTONIO — Tenants at the South Point Apartments said they have asked for repairs multiple times with no results. Eventually, they reached out to the Texas Organizing Project a few months ago after seeing that nonprofit get involved with another San Antonio apartment complex. 

Tenants worked with the nonprofit to give South Point Apartments a list of demands in early October. The tenants also called code enforcement. 

Apartment complex assistant manager Nora Pelegreen told KENS 5 on Wednesday the complex was working with contractors to repair water leaks and get better lighting. Pelegreen also said they recently let one of their two maintenance workers go after he was not able to fix tenant issues. 

The complex is also actively hiring for new, certified, maintenance workers. 

How did the tenants achieve these changes? The Texas Organizing Project worked with tenants to document common problems and then contact both code enforcement and local new media. 

Code enforcement came out to the property on Oct. 25 and found 11 violations including a Plumbing System Hazards violation, a Sanitary Drainage Maintenance violation, and an Electrical System Hazard violation. 

Tenants said, after those violations came out, they started seeing many additional contractor vehicles on the property. 

"Code compliance was here last week and that's when it really started. All I have been seeing is trucks for different companies like electrical and sewage and things like that," tenant Romana Castro said. 

Tenants also said there are many additional repairs that have not been completed. Pedro Aguilar showed KENS 5 a cabinet that was rotting out at the bottom and a door jam he said he had to fix himself. He also said he hasn't had a fire alarm for two years. 

Aguilar said there are also apartment-wide problems including roof leaks, mold, and a lack of outside lighting. 

"One of the main issues is we have a lot of homeless people come in. At night we don't have lighting. They have the lights there but they don't call nobody to change the bulbs," Aguilar said.

Aguilar also said the complex also has some flood lights that work but seem to come on at the wrong time. 

When KENS 5 went to the management office on Wednesday, assistant manager Nora Pelegreen said the complex had actually paid the first installment in a contract for a new lighting two months ago. Unfortunately, she  still didn't know when those lights were going to be installed. 

Pelegreen then showed KENS 5 her contract for the lights and called her lighting company, Smart Solutions, asking for help.

When KENS 5 then spoke to Smart Solutions Sales Director Andrew Berteaux and explained the safety concerns, Berteaux said he would rearrange schedules so the company would start installing lights the very next day.

The company did, in fact, come out Thursday and start installing flood lights. Berteaux said the company didn't have all of the 250 lights the apartment needed right now, but they wanted to address those safety concerns. 

"Outdoor lighting goes directly to safety and making residents feel safer,"Berteaux said. "So when we heard there was a safety issue we huddled up and made that adjustment."

Pelegreen also told KENS 5 complex had had issues with one of their maintenance workers and recently fired that worker. Unfortunately he was one of only two on the property. Pelegreen said the company had been working with multiple contractors to address issues at the apartment and KENS 5 saw multiple contractors out on Thursday. 

Pelegreen said she was trying to hire an additional certified maintenance worker. 

Tenant Romana Castro said the tenants ultimately wanted to speak with the owners of the apartment complex about additional changes but the management office was not willing to give them the owners contact information.

Pelegreen said management was doing they best they could to address tenant concerns at the current time.

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