HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - WHNT News 19's Al Whitaker has done a number of stories about the problems in the Huntsville Summit apartment complex. He was even threatened with arrest in his most recent attempt to update the situation.
After that Al says he watched as a resident in a wheelchair was "publicly humiliated" and "admonished" for speaking to him. That man is Nicholas Tate, or Nick as he likes to be called.
Nick says he will speak to who he wants to, and he doesn't care who is bothered by it. He has more important things to worry about, such as paying his rent, and bringing in some food.
“Up until December of 1997, I had enough credits to qualify for disability. But when I went to apply for disability, they said that I didn't have enough credits,” Nick explained.
He says he believes he had simply waited too long to apply for disability. So he draws a SSI check of just over $700 a month. Almost a third of that goes for his rent here at the Summit. Much of the remainder is spent on medicines.
“I have to beat the street. I have to pick up aluminum cans. I have to, to provide for my family whatever it is I have to do I have to do that until the third of the next month,” Nick says.
The cans represent grocery money. Nick says he's not looking for a handout, he's looking for a job.
“I will take anything. Anything that you put before me, just give me the chance to show you I can do that,” Nick says.
Nick says life at the Summit isn't that bad. He says yes, there are bedbugs and other issues. But he says he remains focused on survival, one day at a time. He may have lost his legs, but he didn't lose an ounce of his dignity, not even when he was publicly chastised for talking to me.
An email from Congressman Mo Brooks' office says the Department of Housing and Urban Development continues to monitor conditions at the Summit. However, we've spoken with yet another resident who tells us her air conditioner hasn't worked in two months, and she says she believes management is well aware of the issues.
WHNT News 19 will continue to look into complaints and work to help find resolutions for the tenants.