10 Kids, 9 Adults Flooded Out Of Homes

Thomas Breen photoNineteen people were flooded out of their Goffe Street apartments Monday when heavy rainfall and a blocked water drain resulted in up to two inches of water seeping into eight different familes’ homes.

Six of those families were relocated to an area hotel. One family opted to spend the night with relatives. One family decided to stay put in their water-logged room.

That was the scene at the St. Martin’s Townhouses at 200 Goffe St., when the eight families were temporarily displaced from their apartments at the 63-unit, federally-subsidized housing complex because of the morning-long downpour.

St. Martin’s is managed by SHP Management, which runs 13 subsidized housing complexes in Connecticut and over 50 complexes throughout Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

Laura Glover, the complex’s senior property manager, said she and her on-site superintendent started receiving phone calls from residents about their apartments being flooded at around 10:30 a.m. (Glover declined to be photographed for this article and restricted a reporter’s access to the property.)

She said the problem stemmed from blockage in the main water line connecting the street and the property drains.

“The rain was coming so fast and so hard,” she said. “If the drains are partially blocked, they just can’t keep up.”

She said she called a plumber and by noon the drains were no longer clogged.

But by then, the damage had already been done. She said water backed up through the back doors of the eight families’ apartments, covering their floors with up to two inches of rainwater. She said that the apartments have four-inch baseboards, and that the flooding did not affect any of the wall surfaces, just the floor surfaces. She estimated that the apartments would take 24 to 48 hours to dry up and clean.

“There are no inhabitability issues at all,” she said. “This is just temporary, because we don’t want people standing in water in their houses while they’re trying to cook dinner or dry their hair. That’s just not safe.”

Glover said two of the complex’s six buildings were affected by the flooding. She said she has hired a professional remediation service to clean up the five apartments that were most affected by the flooding. In-house staff would handle the clean up for the three lesser-affected units.

The in-house team had already cleaned and dried the apartment of the family that chose to stay put at St. Martin’s for the night instead of moving to a hotel or to a friend’s or relative’s place.

“I think we handled this aggressively and promptly to ensure the safety of all the residents involved,” Glover said.

Rafael Ramos, deputy director of the city’s anti-blight agency, the Livable City Initiative (LCI), said his department got a call from the fire department at around 10:30 on Monday morning. He said he sent LCI Housing Code Inspector Rick Mazzadra to the scene, and that Mazzadra has been working with the property managers to ensure that the eight affected families are back in their apartments soon.

St. Martin’s was acquired in March 2018 by the company St. Martin’s Preservation GP LLC, which is managed by New York City venture capitalist Stuart Feldman.

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posted by: robn on April 16, 2018  10:09pm

Its highly improbable that the 4” baseboards were impervious to 2” of water and its a good bet that the gypsum wall board behind got saturated. Great breeding ground for mold.

posted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on April 17, 2018  8:02am

No news here, although I feel as if were trying to find something wrong the man.

posted by: LookOut on April 17, 2018  8:37am

every single situation where an apartment is unfit and/or not kept to code, the property is subsidized housing.  I’m not saying that correlation is causation but there must be some aspect of the programs that encourage landlords to do less than they do in market rate housing.  The system should get a close look - this obviously has an outsized effect on the poor.  From my experience, the subsidized housing programs have grown to the point that they cannot be managed - many landlords slide, many tenants are no longer truly eligible, many properties decay…

posted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on April 17, 2018  10:20am

Lookout, You illustrate my point perfectly.  So does your name. Perhaps it was an act of God that was promptly addressed by man?

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on April 17, 2018  12:22pm

Lookout,
Subsidized housing complexes often have waiting lists to get in, while market rate apartments have to induce demand through marketing and it’s difficult to attract customers if the product is in poor condition.

posted by: LookOut on April 17, 2018  12:40pm

@Hopkins:  Yes, there are waiting lists - when I talk to people on the waiting list, they are very frustrated that able bodied people with the ability (but no desire) to support themselves spend 20 or 30 years in the system thus squeezing out those that really need help.  In addition, as you point out, this dynamic distorts supply and demand which a) raises prices and b) teaches marginal landlords that they don’t need to spend much time or money improving their property in order to rent it.  The result is beneficial for the marginal landlords and tenants that game the system and a net negative for most everyone else.