Tenants at an apartment building in the capital city have some serious complaints.
They say bed bugs have been an ongoing problem, and that management is not taking steps to get it under control. For two and a half years, tenants say they have been living with anxiety about their homes becoming infested, sometimes for a second or third time.
This is according to residents of Crescent Manor, a low-income housing apartment building in Bismarck.
“They were attacking me, biting me on my body. I had places on my chest that they had bit me, places on my back neck,” shared one resident, James Sprague.
He has been living at Crescent Manor, a building managed by the Burleigh County Housing Authority, for about two and a half years. His apartment has been treated for bed bugs three times since then. One treatment was as recent as a month ago.
We asked if he brought in the bed bugs, to which Sprague replied, “Oh no, gosh no.”
He’s not alone. When KX News showed up at the apartment complex a few weeks back, prior to social distancing guidelines, we expected one or two tenants to speak with us.
Instead, about 15 to 20 people gathered to air their complaints and their fears.
We asked a resident of five years, Marcella Knight, when this issue was first brought to the Housing Authority.
She recalled, “April…almost three years ago.”
As for how long it took for a response from the Housing Authority, Knight paused and concluded, “…quite a while.”
At it’s worst point, she says the infestation spanned three floors.
“Well initially yeah, because nobody was… we had no idea where to look for them,” explained Dwight Barden, the Executive Director of the Burleigh County Housing Authority.
Barden says by the time someone fessed up, the infestation was pretty bad.
“Maybe 25 percent of the units, for a rough guess,” he speculated.
“Did I know there were bed bugs here? No, I had no idea what they were,” Sprague shared.
Barden says everyone who moves in is notified, unless they moved in while the Housing Authority was still trying to pinpoint the problem.
But, KX News heard this same statement from several tenants. They say people were not notified before moving in.
Sprague added, “We need to straighten up that office over there.”
“They don’t tell us anything, and that communication has been a big problem, and we’ve addressed it with them several times,” Knight shared.
Barden says the Housing Authority is now monitoring for bed bugs every other week, by checking traps placed in each apartment.
Knight and many others say, otherwise, they love living at Crescent Manor, and don’t know where else they could go.
Sprague and any other tenants we sat down with, do not currently have a problem. The Burleigh County Housing Authority says there are still about three infested units currently in Crescent Manor.
Tenants fear this isn’t going to go away anytime soon.