May 7


Yup, there’s plenty of bed bugs at LBJ Apartments

Inspections confirm many units at Buffalo public housing complex are infested with the pests. Fumigations are planned, but not soon enough for some residents.

Sign in community room of LBJ Apartments warns of infestation. Photo by I’Jaz Ja’ciel.

Days after Investigative Post revealed a bed bug infestation in the LBJ senior citizen apartments, the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority arranged mandatory pest control inspections for each unit. 

Twenty-six of the building’s 206 apartments, including some vacant units, were found to have bed bugs, according to BMHA Executive Director Gillian Brown. 

He said bed bugs were also found in the community room, where Investigative Post on Monday saw each couch and chair had written signs posted to them advising residents not to sit on them, as they may have bed bugs. 

Brown said an extermination plan is currently underway.

“Twenty-six units will get their first treatment within the next 10 days and then the second treatment will follow two weeks after the first,” Brown said, adding the authority will also be doing a full-building cockroach treatment during the month of May.

Investigative Post on April 23 reported a plethora of complaints from LBJ residents, ranging from leaky ceilings and broken washing machines to roach and bed bug infestations.

The 10-story building, located at Main Street and Humboldt Parkway, is the BMHA’s largest senior development, with 70 percent of tenants elderly, many disabled. That makes bed bug infestations, among other problems, particularly troublesome, they said.

LBJ Apartments. Photo by Garrett Looker.

Residents said they were notified within days of the Investigative Post story being published that an exterminator would inspect their apartments on May 2 and May 3.

Although the exterminator arrived, several residents who spoke with Investigative Post Monday remain frustrated.

“They came in there and looked around and walked back out the door and said, ‘We’ll be back.’ Ain’t nobody came back yet,” said tenant Lauren Dove. “I’m still getting bit up. I still have bug bites all over my hands and on my back.”

“Here’s what I’m not understanding with Gillian Brown is, he said he’s aware [of the infestations]. He was aware two years ago when my dad had them, and I’ve been here almost 10 years,” said LBJ Apartments tenant representative Erma Ecford. “If he was aware back then, why hasn’t he done anything?”

Tenant Ron Washington told Investigative Post in a phone interview Monday that he is currently staying with a friend due to the bed bug and roach infestations in his apartment.

“They just said they’d stay in contact and they’d notify us,” he said.

Brown said the BMHA has been battling bed bugs throughout housing authority properties for over a decade and has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at LBJ.

He said the current work at LBJ will be done in phases because of other improvements now ongoing at the complex.

“We’re phasing it because of the construction that’s ongoing because, remember, every unit in the building is getting a new kitchen and a new bathroom,” Brown said.

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Some residents say those kitchen and bathroom renovations are amplifying the bug problem. 

Dhyrall Hurdle has been living at LBJ Apartments for eight years and he said he’s been trying to handle issues in his apartment as best as he can, despite being legally blind.

“I just spray to try to tackle it, but by them doing the construction, it’s just making it worse,” he said.

“Every time I request maintenance service, they tell you one thing and then they turn around and do another. I’ve gotten to the point where if they come, they come and if they don’t come, then I still have to deal with it,” he said. 

Several residents are taking matters into their own hands.

“Roaches just took over the apartment,” said tenant Diana Mack. “I’m tired of spending my money on three and four cans of Raid a month.”

While some tenants say they use their own resources, others said they’ve been advised not to treat their apartments for pests and to let the professional exterminators handle it instead.

“[The exterminator] told me not to use the sprays that I bought and did that night, so that’s why I’m not there,” Washington said.

“I told [the exterminator] I had roaches in my kitchen, and I started crying because he told me that I can’t use spray,” said resident Jeannine Threet, who first told Investigative Post about bed bugs and roaches in her apartment last month.

While residents continue to wait for exterminations, some said that other issues have been addressed since Investigative Post’s last visit.

Dove said plumbing issues she first complained about four months ago were finally  fixed. Ecford said her leaky tub was fixed as well and that some of the missing panels in the ceilings had been replaced.

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Other tenants say they’re still having issues with plumbing and the laundry room has gotten worse.

“There are only two washing machines and one dryer working,” said Donna Colbert, a substitute resident maintenance worker. 

Many tenants said they want to stay in their apartments, but they need conditions to change. Threet said she doesn’t want to leave the LBJ Apartments because she likes her fellow residents and she appreciates the affordability, but she said she doesn’t know what else she can do.

“If they keep on, I’m moving out of here because I can’t take it,” she said. “I don’t want to because it’s cheap, but I can’t do it anymore with the bugs and everything.”

Investigative Post

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