MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - You paid for it. A leaky sink, a toilet that won't flush, and a bad roof repair, at a cost of $35,000 in taxpayer dollars. It's another fine example of the city's not-so-fine failing home repair program.
After ABC 24 News exposed problems with HARP (Housing and Redevelopment Program) four months ago, city leaders vowed to fix it by April 1st. Senior Investigator Jeni Diprizio uncovered new examples of the mess created by city-hired contractors
HARP is meant to help low-income residents and seniors get their homes repaired. But many of the people who are supposed to be helped, say their homes are in worse shape now than before city-hired contractors worked on them.
Annie Neely is frustrated with the work contractors did at her home. Her once working toilet now requires extra human assistance to flush. The bathroom sink that once worked now won't drain, and after contractors worked on the kitchen sink, it started leaking.
Neely says her home is just the latest example of city-hired contractors not doing what they were paid to do, or doing it wrong. For example, the new security door doesn't open in the right direction, rendering the stair rail useless. She complains that she nearly falls just trying to open the door.
The list of problems at Neely's home goes on and on: a bad roof repair, a paint job that was never completed, and new linoleum already peeling. Neely isn't the only frustrated homeowner.
Last December we showed you Patricia Sawyer's once working sink that started leaking water once HARP contractors got a hold of it; it's still leaking.
Then there was Joy Brent. Housing and Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb said he was sending workers back out to Brent's house after she showed ABC 24 her problems. She says city hired contractors messed up the electrical system. She and her pastor, Melvin Watkins, are still waiting for those inspectors to show up.
"I live in fear about this electrical work, that is the most devastating part of it," said Brent.
Watkins added, "It's not ethical for us to have seniors out there, their problems created by the city and they don't want to fix the problem."
Neely's son, Sim Elem, points fingers at the city for hiring sub-par contractors and the contractors for doing such a poor job.
"To be honest with you, I think they need to evaluate the contractors that bid on these jobs," he said. "They are out to make money, use cheap materials and hide a lot of work that is supposed to be done."
The only glimmer of hope for Neely is that inspectors have failed the work three times in the last three weeks. That said, she says the contractors aren't showing up to fix the mistakes.
"If they're going to do something, do something. If not, go on so I can fix it myself."
ABC 24 asked Mayor A C Wharton and Robert Lipscomb to tour the homes so they could see the work for themsleves. No surprise, neither accepted the invitation. In fact, they didn't even respond to the request.