‘Horror story.’ Atlantic City Public Housing Residents Describe Deplorable Residence Conditions

Water damage, decaying buildings and cockroach infestations are just some of the conditions public housing residents say they are forced to live with in Atlantic City.

Community members held a forum on Thursday afternoon to try to pressure the federal government into action.

“It’s awful. We live in awful conditions. And I’m tired,” says Lisa Barshal, former president of the Altman Towers Tenants’ Association.

Barshal lives in Altman Terrace, a 200-unit public housing complex for the elderly and disabled. She says the conditions inside her building are deplorable.

“Our building is deteriorating. You walk in, you see the cockroaches,” she said. “I’m frustrated, I’m pissed off.”

Residents of Atlantic City housing complexes gathered at Soldier’s Home to voice their concerns and voice what they want to change. Federal housing officials plan to come to Atlantic City next week.

“It is a humanitarian crisis. And it’s time to fix it,” says resident Patricia Nellum.

Warren Massey, the former chairman of the Atlantic City Housing Authority, says he’s heard horror stories from residents.

“Horror stories that I think exist all over the country,” he says.

Massey spent two and a half years as chairman of the Housing Authority before being forced out. He wants federal officials to hear directly from public housing residents.

“What is the future for people living in public housing in Atlantic City? Because right now it’s just bad,” he says.

Massey hosted Thursday’s forum. Residents also spoke of falling debris at seniors’ apartments in Shore Park, lack of air conditioning in some hallways, no hot water, and structural integrity issues.

“We live near salt water. We have a whole Atlantic Ocean around us. And the salt water when it comes to the shores and hits that concrete, it eats away at it,” Nellum says.

Housing Secretary Marcia Fudge was in Atlantic City this week for the NAACP National Convention alongside Vice President Kamala Harris. The vice president left Atlantic City immediately after her events at the convention center.

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small said the NAACP national convention is expected to bring in $10 million in economic activity.