Bed bugs in Memphis HUD housing

by nobugsonme on May 31, 2015 · 3 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs in low-income housing

Residents of a housing complex in Memphis for elderly and disabled people are dealing with what sounds like a serious bed bug problem, as reports:

(You can also view the video on the Local Memphis website if it doesn’t load here.)

First, this sounds like a bed bug problem which has been growing for some time. One resident reports being told by pest management professionals to throw out her two-year old living room furniture, and reports having found 1000 bed bugs in her husband’s wheelchair.

And, not surprisingly, the problem has spread quite badly: residents claim almost all of twelve units in one wing have bed bugs.

The reporter notes that tenants claim bed bugs are “flying through air ducts” and that  tenants can’t turn on the air for this reason.

Wait, what?!?

Okay, that actually is very odd, because bed bugs can’t fly. (I’m not saying they can’t come through air ducts, only that they did not propel themselves through the air.)  The media has a responsibility to correct any misconceptions in that regard, and unfortunately they missed an opportunity here.

In any case, there’s no reason for bed bugs to get so bad, and “spot treatments” are not likely to make much of a difference. The problem in this housing complex needs to be aggressively addressed, with all affected units identified and treated at once, and regular follow-ups to ensure the bed bug problem is completely gone.

Residents will need special help with debugging items like wheelchairs.  It’s easily enough done using something like a Packtite Closet or a good steamer, the right tools are needed, and mobility issues may mean physical assistance is needed also.

In this situation, the property receives funding from HUD and the state equivalent, and as such, there are HUD rules in place as for how bed bugs must be addressed.

As Pest Control Technology reported back in 2011,

On August 19, 2011, HUD issued guidelines on preventing and controlling bed bugs in HUD-insured and HUD-assisted properties, including those that take Section 8 vouchers. In addition to identifying best practices regarding integrated pest management (IPM), it also details the rights and responsibilities of HUD, owners/managers and residents with regard to bed bug treatments.

You can view a PDF of HUD’s guidelines by downloading this PDF.

It makes me especially angry to see people like this suffering with bed bugs. The sad thing is, landlords don’t save money by letting things get this bad. It only costs them more in the long run, on top of making the residents miserable, and causing them losses both financially and health-wise.

The HUD guidelines even allow for owners/agents to get financial assistance from HUD for dealing with bed bugs in these types of properties, so there really is no excuse for such a situation continuing. I hope these Memphis residents can get proper assistance swiftly, now HUD and the Tennessee state equivalent have been alerted to the issue.

1 CarpathianPeasant June 2, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Thank you for alerting this old folks’ home resident to the fact that HUD now has guidelines and funding to deal with bedbugs. Wish that had been the case not really that long ago.

2 nobugsonme June 2, 2015 at 6:30 pm

Glad to help, CarpathianPeasant!

3 Timothy August 12, 2015 at 3:26 pm

For the poor bed bugs are a scourge. It a shame and if we had a national effort to eliminate the bed bugs from public housing and subsidized housing projects it would be the most effective way of dealing with what is becoming an epidemic nation wide. Here in Pontiac Michigan we have a public housing project called, Carriage House Apts. and they live in a war zone of bed bug infestations. A local minister paid for all new beds for the residents and this was a wasted effort. The money should have been used to eradicate. Only money can solve the public housing bed bug problem, but the money also has to be directed into proven methods of eradication. It is in the interest of all citizens to help clean up these infestations. I have gone into some homes to get rid of bed bugs the the major companies have refused to even quote a price because of too much clutter. I hope a philanthropist will take up this challenge soon. Eventually a National plan to eradicate them will be needed. Our poor are suffering disproportionately with this plague.

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