Cracked heat threatens residents’ safety amid an approaching winter storm

ST. LOUIS – Six months after residents of an affordable Central West End housing development were left without air conditioning, many are now without heat.

“It’s going to be a little chilly, and I don’t think I’ll make it into the living room with the stove,” said Georgia Johnson, a Washington Apartments resident.

Over the summer, Johnson told FOX 2 that her apartment was overheating due to a broken air conditioner.

She and other residents of the Washington Apartments now have the opposite problem. Johnson said her heat went off for days.

“It’s just awful that they take your rent money and don’t try to do anything about it or help you find a place to live,” she said.

The 100 unit building filled with Section 8 residents is now awaiting the seller of the property to receive the approved parts to fix the broken central heating system.

“I need to toughen up,” said Demetrius Foote. “It’s going to be very sad but since there will be no heat it seems I have no choice.”

As a winter storm approaches later in the week, it will only get worse, making it harder for low-income residents or the elderly to find somewhere else to stay warm. However, many of them cannot afford it.

“The economy, the inflation, you name it, it’s hit a lot of people,” said Gentry W. Trotter, founder of Heat Up St. Louis.

A spokesman for the apartment complex said portable heaters are available to help while they work to fix the central heating.

Heat Up St. Louis, which helps keep the heat up by paying people’s energy bills, warns that space heaters could do more harm than good.

“Your landlord should be extra careful and help these people out, especially if you turn around and add flame to the fire by giving them a space heater,” Trotter said. “You’re putting her in danger again.” Cracked heat threatens residents’ safety amid an approaching winter storm

Sarah Y. Kim

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