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PENN HILLS (KDKA) — Elderly residents on a fixed income say the garbage at Beechtree Commons in Penn Hills hadn’t been picked up for three weeks.
They say the smell was terrible and it was beginning to attract animals. Residents were fearful of additional health problems so they called KDKA.
The 59 residents at the Leechburg Road facility were fed up and worried when they called for help about the garbage piling up outside and inside their building. The big, smelly problem got hauled away Wednesday.
The garbage chutes at Beechtree Commons have been so packed with trash, they wouldn’t close.
“There’s garbage up, this is the second floor. There are gnats flying around. It stinks,” Karen Majersky said.
Majersky lives in the subsidized building along with dozens of others on a fixed income, like Louise DelGatto.
“They want our rent, the rent has to be in, but the garbage can’t be picked up?” Majersky said.
Concerned they would be more susceptible to health problems, they contacted the garbage company themselves.
“Many people have called the rubbish and they said the bill hasn’t been paid,” one resident said.
Residents were already dealing with mold issues in a community room ceiling and two apartments. Belfor, a property restoration company, was cleaning up Wednesday.
“I’m disgusted, you know, that we have to live like this,” DelGatto said.
But when residents heard the garbage bill wasn’t getting paid by National Church Residences, the nation’s largest provider of affordable senior housing with five locations in Pittsburgh, they had enough and called KDKA-TV.
“Somebody’s got to help us. Somebody has to be our mouthpiece,” DelGatto said.
After calls to the Ohio-base company, the Better Business Bureau, the Allegheny County Health Department and garbage company Vogel, the problem, according to the company, was a clerical error by its third-party vendor.
For now, after many missed collections, the clerical error is over, the bill is paid, the garbage is picked up and the residents are relieved.
Neighbors say they are otherwise happy with their building and their close tenant community.
The Health Department did receive complaints about both the trash and the mold. The BBB says the company has not answered any of their requests for disclosure of information on complaints received. The company says, however, they simply aren’t a BBB member.
As for that third-party vendor, Roadrunner Recycling, it says the company didn’t make a payment from July 20 until Oct. 1. That is why the trash was finally picked up Wednesday afternoon due to payment made and tenacious tenants.