In the last year and a half some things have changed at the Hot springs Housing Authority (HSHA).
A Federal Raid of the place happened in March 2014 amidst what we're told was a criminal investigation into the former Executive Director, Barbara Baer. Findings have not been released to HSHA.
HSHA confirms Baer's departure and the hiring of a new Executive Director.
Also, as recently as Monday (8/26) night, HSHA has hired and accepted a bid from a new exterminating service to finally rid the place of bed bugs.
"... Housing that is decent and safe ...," that's HSHA's mission.
Some tenants though, say their landlords haven't lived up to that.
"Bed bugs, the roaches, the mice," Lucille Musovich explained. "I'm being eaten alive. Seriously, being eaten alive."
Musovich, who's now pregnant, moved in in March of 2013. She claims she came in with brand new furniture but was accused of, and threatened with eviction for, bringing in bed bugs.
The HSHA interim Executive Director, Allen Dodd says, "Obviously [bed bugs] come in when they have new move-ins."
The HSHA has battled bed bugs for a couple years.
In 2013 we started looking into the HSHA charging tenants for treatment of bed bugs. It's something they weren't allowed to do according to HUD policy.
After our reports HSHA changed its policy and refunded tenants.
Since then though, Dodd says bed bugs have progressively gotten worse.
He said, "We couldn't get a grasp on it and feel like the only thing that we can do is treat the whole building."
In the past, HSHA has used an exterminator to treat individual rooms at a time when the pests would pop up.
That didn't seem to work so they decided to attack the entire building.
"Bed bugs do spread once they get inside a building," said Al Carney, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for HSHA. "We're gonna kill every living critter in this building from the roof down to the basements."
The Board accepted a bid from a new exterminator, yet to be announced, that will do the treatment.
They say the whole building is not infested but they are going to treat the whole thing either way.
It's an extensive process. A tenant has to pack up most of their belongings but HSHA says they'll take care of the tenants providing a nice area for them to stay during the day while their room and floor is treated.
The treatment will start September 8 and they'll do three floors a day including common areas, bathrooms and storage.
They're cleaning house in more ways than one.
"We've turned the agency upside down," Carney added. "It's on good standing right now."
But some tenants would still call it shaky at best, until they see solid improvement.
"I'm kind of of the mindset now I'm gonna believe it when I see it," remarked Musovich.
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