Hoboken Freeholder Anthony Romano’s (D-5) mayoral slate held a press conference at a senior building yesterday in hopes of riding the 160-unit facility of bed bugs.
“Many concerns have been brought to our attention by the wonderful residents of the Columbian Towers senior citizen facility. First and foremost, there’s a serious bed bug issue,” Romano said outside of 76 Bloomfield St. yesterday afternoon.
“According to the state code, it’s up to the owners of the building when it’s a multi-family structure, to eradicate this problem. These are a very important part of our community, senior citizens, they deserve for this problem to be fixed.”
According to city spokesman Juan Melli, the health department has received “a handful of complaints” in recent months pertaining to bed bugs, heat, trash and leaks at Columbian Towers.
He said that “most complaints have been abated” since the first bed bugs-related complaint was filed on April 20th, with $1,066 in fines assessed, and the management company and their exterminator performing over a dozen treatments.
Laini Hammond, one of Romano’s running mates, claimed that the situation had largely fell on deaf ears and was long overdue for action.
Romano added that he planned on notifying the state Department of Community Affairs and the Hudson County Department of Health in hopes of remedying the issues as soon as possible.
Charles “Buddy” Matthews, the third and final member of Romano’s slate,” added that heating, air conditioning and washing machines in the building don’t work.
“They’re taking away all of these citizens rights in this building,” chimed in Matthews, further stating that visitor parking spots had been removed from the building.
Tomasina Nolan, a longtime resident of Columbian Towers, explained her discomforting first-hand experience dealing with bed bugs in the building.
“I personally am assaulted by the bed bugs situation. I have not slept in a bed for two months, I sleep in a chair, it has effected my health and the effects of the health in the people in this building is profound,” stated Nolan.
” … [If] you bring up certain issues, they are like, they stonewall you, they actually look at you as if ‘you need to produce evidence!,’ I was asked. ‘Do you have evidence?’ My face was ravaged, my body. I mean, I could do a striptease if they wanted that, but my face is certainly evident.”
Melli also told Hudson County View that the city health department will continue to “proactively address the issue,” leaving contact info for residents experiencing problems.
“The Health Department will continue to proactively address the issue, as it has with other complaints that have been received at the building,” he said in an email.
“Tenants are often afraid to come forward with complaints, but we encourage all affected residents to report problems to the Health Department at 201-420-2375 so that we can thoroughly eradicate the issue.”
Calls to the Columbian Towers management company were not returned.