‘I’m still freezing’: Oak Lake Court tenants demand SBG Management fix their apartments within 9 days

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Standing outside in 40-degree weather, tenants at Oak Lane Court Apartments said they’re not scared to voice their disappointment with SBG Management. They want their apartments fixed.

On Thursday evening, more than 40 people stood outside the complex in Northwest Philadelphia to make their demands. With papers in one hand and a megaphone mic in the other, current tenant Juanita Clark said she and her fellow residents can’t keep living like this. They say issues include a lack of heat, a broken elevator, roach infestations, and mold. But the most pressing is the lack of working heaters.

Residents of the Oak Lane Court apartments and their supporters protested their living conditions outside the apartment building in Philadelphia’s West Oak Lane neighborhood on February 1, 2023. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

“Just last month, me and my children had to sleep in the cold for four days with no heat, no hot water because the landlord didn’t pay his half of the gas bill,” Clark said, adding elevators are a necessity for older tenants. “I see disabled elderly taking [their] groceries up the stairs by themselves. People with oxygen tanks who can’t even breathe taking the stairs.”

Juanita Clark, a resident of the Oak Lane Court apartments for the last 14 months, says she experienced retaliation for complaints she made about lack of heat, hot water, and a working elevator. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

She said the issues keep mounting. Clark has been living at Oak Lane for 14 months, but after speaking with neighbors she learned that some had been living without heat or working elevators for years.

The situation has worsened, to the point that some tenants have been using their stoves to heat their apartments. Kyreim Carter said she and her 16-year-old have been living in a cold apartment since November.

“I’m still freezing. I got the oven on,” Carter said. “[I was told to] put a pot of water to kill the carbon monoxide.”

The goal of the protest, organizers said, is to shine a light on the “deplorable” living conditions and to get management to repair apartments within nine days.

“Because you got these people thinking this is how they supposed to live and that’s not fair,” Clark said.

Juanita Clark, a resident of the Oak Lane Court apartments for the last 14 months, says she experienced retaliation for complaints she made about lack of heat, hot water, and a working elevator. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

  • February 2, 2024
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