Remember the Connie Griffith / Ballard Towers, in Lexington, Kentucky?
In November, 2008, we told you that some of the complex’s public housing tenants had been suffering with bed bugs for two years. Next month, it will be three and a half years that some tenants have been living with this pest.
And as WKYT reports, the elderly residents are, sadly, still living with bed bug bites and fecal stains.
In 2008, the Lexington Housing Authority treated all 317 apartments in the towers, and the director says they continue to do so on an as need basis.
“We have in effect an extermination program, and we have contracted exterminators recommended by the health department,” says Austin Simms, the director for the Lexington Housing Authority. “We will exterminate free and we’ve spent $400,000 addressing the problem.”
The video notes tenants were given mattress encasements. That is helpful, but not enough.
Even if the response to complaints is prompt, it is not enough to treat units “on an as need basis.” Piecemeal treatments of individual units may keep the problem controlled at a certain level, but will not get rid of bed bugs in the building. And it is quite obvious, they have not gotten rid of bed bugs in the building.
It is less than a month since we heard that the Fort Worth Housing Authority was shutting down a similar complex and relocating its 219 tenants after spending $500K on bed bug treatments.
I know how difficult it is to treat large complexes and to educate tenants and help them avoid re-infestation. However, one has to wonder if the $400K would have bought a thermal or Vikane gas treatment and some educational seminars? Maybe even a bed bug sauna to assist in treating infested furnishings?
We have to get creative about fighting bed bugs in public housing. Fort Worth was able to relocate an entire complex full of elderly and disabled tenants. Other cities may have trouble doing so, and no city can keep doing this every time a building becomes infested with bed bugs.
Click here to read the rest of the WKYT report or watch the video.