Troubleshooters: La Bella Vista

Posted at 4:02 PM, Nov 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-13 17:31:27-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Some residents at a HUD housing complex in Alice called the Troubleshooters with complaints about the elevators not working consistently.

And that's a real problem for residents, especially those confined to wheelchairs.

We contacted the city of Alice Housing Authority to get answers.

"It says in case of fire, use the stairs. How are they going to use the stairs ?" pointed out Angie Santos, the resident who contacted us.

She's referring to residents who are wheelchair-bound, and that's a valid point.

But Santos, and her friend, Oralia Zamarippa, who uses a wheelchair, said this is how they live at La Bella Vida Apartments.

The two elevators don't work consistently, and that's a big problem.

"If you're downstairs, you're stuck downstairs," Zamarippa said. "You're up here, you're stuck up here until they fix them."

And that's a problem for not only disabled residents.

"Can you give me, either one of you, a specific instance where that caused real problems for you ? the Troubleshooters asked.

"Yeah," replied Santos. "I fell down the stairs."
Both woman claim management's response was— "you get hurt, they say 'we're not responsible if you get hurt."

Andrea Garza has been a resident for about a year. She told us about her accident on the premises.

"I slipped down. I hit myself on the back. This leg popped to this side. This went that way too. And I hurt my back. It's still hurting," she said.

Garza claims management told her there was nothing they could do.

But the Troubleshooters spoke with Irma Cuellar, executive director of the city of Alice Housing Authority, by phone.

She told us whenever residents are injured on the property, they can file insurance claims.

La Bella Vida was built in 1960, but this is the first time anyone has contacted the Troubleshooters about a problem with the elevators.

Cuellar told us the state Department of Licensing and Regulation does an annual inspection of the elevators, and that they have a contract with a Corpus Christi company called 'TK ELEVATORS' to maintain them.

TK is currently repairing a jack for the elevator on the right, which has been down for months.

They're hopeful it will be repaired and working consistently by the end of the year.

Cuellar also confirmed for the Troubleshooters that La Bella Vida is ADA compliant and that management understands residents' frustrations.

That's why the elevator company is already working to make sure both elevators work consistently.

And that's what Zamarippa wants to hear. "And I told them, in case of emergency, how are the ambulance people going to get us out? They're not carrying me down. I'm already scared."