Hot water shut off for nearly a week, seniors living Decatur public housing hope to be reimbursed for motel costs

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DECATUR, Ala. – Residents at a public housing development in Decatur for low-income seniors finally have hot water Monday evening after it was shut off 6 days ago. Residents tell News 19 the Jordan-Niell apartment building has more than 50 units and all of them were affected.

Even though the hot water is back on, the issues continue. Living without hot water for six days came at a high price for these low-income residents. One woman tells us she spent more than $170 dollars on a motel room for two nights.

News 19 began investigating this story Saturday after we received multiple phone calls from elderly residents living at the apartment building saying their hot water had been shut off since Tuesday.

The hot water was turned off last Tuesday morning to make changes to existing water lines for a current construction project, according to the Decatur Housing Authority. It was supposed to be turned back on that afternoon. But a pump was damaged in the process and a part needed to be ordered to fix it.

This left elderly residents without hot water for several days.

After News 19 contacted DHA Saturday, they said tenants should have had warm water when a temporary fix was completed Friday. Residents tell us they did get warm water, but it only lasts for a couple of minutes. 

Jolynne Hannay, a tenant at Jordan-Niell, says she has a medical condition that requires her to bathe often. She decided to stay in a motel for two nights. The cost for those two nights was one-third of an entire month’s rent. Now she wants the Decatur Housing Authority to reimburse her for the cost of the motel.

“There’s a lot of people here that are even more handicapped or physically disabled and I’m sure it’s been hard on them,” Hannay said Monday. “I think that it’s DHA’s responsibility to provide us what we’re paying rent for.”

Hannay says utilities are included in her rent. She says a representative for DHA told her they would need to consult legal to see if they could take the cost of her motel off her rent.

News 19 asked DHA representative Michelle Dowdy about reimbursing residents for motel costs. She said she could not provide a comment at this time.

News 19 contacted a spokesman for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. The say HUD is looking into this serious matter and will respond as quickly as possible.

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