Problem #1: The resident of a low-income public housing building had a long history of addiction to crack cocaine. She engaged in a pattern of behavior that repeated itself for years: She would allow a crack dealer to move in with her and deal to other residents of the building, as well as outsiders, in exchange for a small amount of the drug for personal use. Residents and staff alike complained about the behavior, and she was counseled not to allow drug dealers into the building or her apartment; however, she persisted in the pattern of conduct.
Investigation: Rob and Kevin focused on the unit, determined to resolve the issue. Rob (who was unknown to the resident) buzzed her and asked to purchase crack. After she let him in, Rob and Kevin went to the apartment and were allowed inside. Finding the crack dealer with the resident, they interviewed the two separately: Rob persuaded the dealer to turn over her crack pipe, and Kevin elicited incriminating statements from the resident about her crack use and the activities of the dealer. Building management was able to use the information to proceed with an eviction.
Resolution: With the assistance of the social worker assigned to the building, the resident was able to obtain a placement in a secure assisted living facility.
Problem #2: A mentally-ill resident inexplicably obtained an anti-harassment order against her neighbor across the hall. She called 911 whenever she encountered the other resident in the hallway, elevator, or other common areas of the building (more than 20 calls over a two-year period). The respondent of the order felt that his right to peaceful enjoyment of his home was constantly being undermined by his neighbor.
Investigation: Kevin first met with both residents separately, in an attempt to mediate the dispute and reach a resolution. The resident who had obtained the court order refused to engage in problem solving and continued to resort to 911 calls. Kevin collected all of the police reports filed by the complaining resident; the building management was able to use them to proceed with lease enforcement action against that person for continued harassment of her neighbor.
Resolution: The resident who had obtained the anti-harassment order moved out of the building, and the neighbor (and other residents) report a restored sense of peace.
Investigation: Kevin made an offer to mediate their dispute in order to bring peace to the building, and both of them agreed. During the mediation session, they discovered that the source of their dispute was a misunderstanding at a resident holiday party six months prior. They agreed to discontinue the feud.
Resolution: Since the mediation, there have been no further complaints to building management.
Problem #4: A young adult woman moved into a low income public housing building. Within weeks, management received complaints that people were “tailgating” their way through the lock-out front door to briefly visit her apartment, thereby compromising resident safety and peaceful enjoyment.
Investigation: Rob interviewed complainants and established the likely times of the activity. Two hours of surveillance resulted in observations of the men “tailgating” into the building and going to the suspected apartment. In addition, one of the men was observed blocking open the lock-out main entrance to facilitate quick trips back and forth. Further investigation involved positively identifying the men, who turned out to be the resident’s cousins. In addition, the building’s surveillance system had recorded the lease violation.
Resolution: After receiving a lease-violation notice, the resident made a decision to take responsibility for preserving the safety of the building and her own housing and has not invited her cousins back to the property. Property management reports that she has stabilized after realizing she would be held responsible for her behavior.