Houstonians living in deplorable conditions feel forgotten, "trapped because we can't afford to move"

Some residents up I-45 North in Houston say they are living in deplorable conditions and they feel like they've been forgotten.

The residents in Greenspoint at Royal Phoenician Apartments on Northcase Drive tell me it can take months or even years before their problems are addressed. One of the biggest issues, I'm told is mold, and they say it's leading to health concerns.

"It's devastating. I'm trying not to cry," says resident Ashlea Smith-Garner while choking back tears. 

In addition to what residents at the Royal Phoenician Apartments say is an infestation of roaches, "We're constantly waking up and having to, I've hit myself a few times because there's something crawling on my face," Smith-Garner explains.

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Some say there are also so many leaks they've lost count. "That's one, two. That's three. I think about 5 or 6. It leaks over here too," resident Brenda Ballard says while walking us through her apartment and pointing out the leaks.

The residents say the leaking water, which is even running from electrical plugs, is leading to mold growing in walls and ceilings, leading to repeated respiratory infections.

"You can't hardly breathe for one thing in this place. When I leave and go to somebody else's house I don't breathe like I breathe in here," Ballard explains.

"It's very demeaning. It makes me feel that because I live in Greenspoint I'm not worth the help. My health isn't worth anything because I'm in Greenspoint, and it really hurts. It's offensive," Smith-Garner adds.

Residents say they're told to submit work orders to report issues. "I've put in at least 50. (50 work orders?) At least 50," 50 work orders in three years according to Smith-Garner. 

"You're steady putting in a work order and they're not coming. You get what I'm saying? They are just not coming," Ballard adds, and she says the disposal side of her kitchen sink has been backed up for months.


It's now filled with roaches and rotting food and inside her apartment, she's constantly swatting gnats. "Yeah, you have to. You don't have a choice," Ballard says as she fans gnats away from her face.

"I want to leave but I can't. I can't afford to go anywhere," says Smith-Garner. 

Rockwell Management, which owns the Royal Phoenician Apartments, says they were not aware of the deplorable conditions, and they sent crews out, including an exterminator immediately today to fix all the problems.

Apartment residents in Houston are encouraged to report mold and other potential health hazards to 311 and the health department will investigate.