Old age home residents complain about building conditions

Some 140 elderly residents of a protected housing complex in Ramat Hasharon, many of them Holocaust survivors, have sent letters to Housing Minister Ariel Attias and State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss complaining that their living conditions are unsafe and unsanitary, and urging them to fix the building immediately, reports www.mynet.co.il. The residents say the Amidar government housing company, which is responsible for the maintenance of the building, has allowed it to fall into serious neglect and is making them feel like second-class citizens. According to the report, the residents, who live in 104 studio apartments in the building in Rehov Dov Hoz, say there is a plague of rats in the yard outside the building and in its lower stories. They say the inner walls of the building are damp, tiles are falling from the bathroom walls, there is no safety cover over the electricity switchboard, their emergency alarms have not worked for more than a year despite repeated requests to repair them, the building's windows have not been cleaned for years, and trees that were chopped down some time ago have still not been removed. They also say they feel unsafe because there is no guard at the building and the doors are locked only at 10 p.m. An Amidar spokesman responded that the company was managing the building for the Housing Ministry according to its instructions, rules and budget. The spokesman said the company had received a complaint about rats and the city was taking care of the matter. He said the installation of an emergency alarm system and closed-circuit security cameras was the ministry's responsibility. "Amidar would be happy to give its tenants a feeling of safety, but cannot implement this for budgetary reasons," the spokesman said. He added that there was a company representative on site 24 hours a day. A ministry spokesman said rats were common in the neighborhood around the building and the problem was being dealt with. He said the alarm system had remained unrepaired because the company that produced it had gone bankrupt. "The building is a residential solution for the independent elderly, and it should be treated the way it is customary to treat every elderly person," the spokesman said.