Heartbreak Hotel

How a group of social service providers took over a drug-infested West Berkeley SRO, invested millions of dollars and thousands of hours -- and accomplished almost nothing

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The raids could be clearly heard as the group sat over a turkey brunch in the community room. The heavy thwack of a battering ram reverberated up the steep stairwell, followed by muffled shouts and the stomp of a dozen footsteps. The police department couldnt have possibly known that this was the day that UA Homes was holding its Mothers Day brunch — it was just an accident of unfortunate timing. Those in attendance sat silently over their plates of turkey and vegetables; it was, no doubt, the fastest holiday meal they ever ate. Downstairs, the target of the raid sat handcuffed to the stair railing listening to the narcotics squad slowly turn her room upside down. Next door, she could hear the same thing being done to her neighbor. But the fact that she was sharing this experience made her feel not one whit better or less alone.

In fact, raids like these were almost beginning to feel commonplace at UA Homes, a 75-unit residential hotel for the formerly homeless on the western end of University Avenue in Berkeley. Although building residents had lived through many crises since they moved into UA Homes, never had things seemed so desperate all at once. Now there was a sense of chaos, as people who were supposed to be in charge stood helplessly to the side. Even in daylight, residents scurried to their rooms, hoping to avoid the attentions of the groups of strangers wandering the halls. Nighttime brought fistfights, knife fights, and overdoses in the hallways. Used needles lay about in the laundry rooms, and blood spots decorated the common bathrooms.

All of this may seem like the kind of problems that routinely plague urban residential hotels, but it was particularly disheartening in this case because UA Homes was designed precisely to avoid such problems. In fact, when UA Homes first opened its doors in 1992, it was heralded as a harbinger of a new age for permanent housing for the homeless. It was to be a model facility, one that coupled housing with on-site services, like counseling and medical care. Relying on a network of social workers, case managers, and community builders based right at UA Homes, residents would have a better chance of staying housed and healthy. But somehow, founders never expected just how fragile this model — and the lives that rely on it — could be.

In its previous incarnation, UA Homes was the UC Hotel, a single-room occupancy (SRO) facility built in 1927. The Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 was disproportionately hard on many of these aging hotels. The UC was not spared, and all 78 of its low-income residents had to be evacuated. For the next three years, the building stood condemned and empty. When Berkeley artist Susan Felix and her nonprofit University Avenue Housing, Inc. took over the building three years later, Felix’s mission was to replace a hollowed-out building with a second chance for the homeless. Collecting an impressive package of funding, including loans from the city of Berkeley and the state, Felix’s one-woman organization rehabilitated the building to the tune of $5.4 million.

Wanting to provide more than just housing. Felix had teamed up with what was then called Berkeley Oakland Support Services (BOSS, now renamed Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency), got some funding from the city, and went about creating one of the earliest examples of what has come to be known as “supportive housing.”

“We had art programs, classes, we had support groups from the community,” Felix recalls. “There was a Friday evening game night. We had restaurants that came in and donated meals.” Local newspapers, including this one, wrote glowing stories about Felix’s victorious transformation of a flophouse into a community. After spending an afternoon helping to dig up the parking lot in the back of UA Homes for the community garden that the organizers had planned, freelance writer Mark Sommer became a convert. “The result today,” Mark Sommer wrote in these pages in 1993, “is not just a remodeled building but a revived sense of belonging for people who have seldom known it in the past.”

The four-story UA Homes is one of the taller buildings on its block of University Avenue just below San Pablo. The lobby still has its high ceiling and marble checkerboard floors. Out back, the community garden still lies to the side of the parking lot, but it’s obviously long past its heyday and now sports leeks that have gone to seed, overgrown flower bushes, and some poisonous herbs.

Upstairs, the floors are sex-segregated — the second floor is for women, the third and fourth for men. The rooms have sinks that suffice for kitchen duty, along with a microwave. Each floor has four community bathrooms and showers. The carpet in the halls, once cream-colored, is now indelibly marked with heavy black spots that indicate the pathways of life here: up and down the stairs, to the elevator, from the laundry room. Downstairs, beyond the lobby, are offices for a traveling medical clinic, which sets up camp every Tuesday, various service providers, and the property manager.

The idea of supportive permanent housing for the recently homeless is a relatively new one, and perhaps its greatest proponent is Carla Javits. A small, trim woman with blunt-cut straw brown hair and the weary look of someone heavily involved in the nonprofit sector, Javits is the president of the Corporation for Supportive Housing. “The idea of supportive housing,” she says, “really came from people — some of them homeless and some of them formerly homeless — and local communities around the country who saw that linking decent, permanent housing and services worked real well for ending homelessness.”

The idea hardly seems revolutionary: Since many people who become homeless do so in large part because they are experiencing other problems — mental illness, substance abuse, and physical disabilities are the big ones — it simply makes sense to offer services to confront those problems in the same place where the recently homeless are given places to live. And though the providing of those on-site services can be expensive, it is, Javits argues, much less expensive to pay for supportive housing now than to pay for emergency room visits, psychiatric hospital stays, and jail time that those who are homeless routinely encounter later. Javits points to the preliminary results of an ongoing study of supportive housing by UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy to support her claims. The tentative numbers from that unfinished study indicate that within a year of being exposed to supportive housing, costly emergency room visits and mental health stays by the formerly homeless with special problems (those with “dual diagnosis” in socio-speak) go down by more than 57 percent.

“This model is for people who but for the housing couldn’t access the services they need to stay stable, and who but for the services couldn’t stay in the housing,” Javits explains. “For them, this combination of services and housing really made a lot of sense.” It also means intensively working with tenants so that their behavior doesn’t pose a problem to others. That’s the other benefit of having services on-site: Service providers can observe residents closely, and can provide services like counseling or group therapy on-site.

Despite the importance Javits attaches to quick intervention by service providers, she notes that participation in the various recovery meetings and medical services is not required of tenants in supportive housing. “The purpose is for people to be as self-sufficient and independent and as much like other tenants in the community as possible. Those are the requirements that any of us live under, and in our view they’ll work best in supportive housing. And if the services are provided effectively and well, most people will take advantage of them.”

If supportive housing is a new model in the world of social work theory, it has yet to fully catch on in the world of public policy. Though some money has trickled in from the federal government since the passage of the McKinney Act in 1987, finding the money for supportive housing still presents organizers with a complicated funding morass. Moreover, the model absolutely requires an elaborate dance between a dizzying number of different parties at one housing site. These typically include a lead social services agency, a case manager, a community builder, a vocational trainer, a social worker, a nurse practitioner, a physician, and a services coordinator whose job it is to pull together the efforts of all the rest. Beyond that are the people charged with keeping the physical facility in operation, the property manager, desk clerks, security and maintenance people.

For the model to work, all of these different parties need to be in nearly constant communication; the social workers must meet together at least once a week to review their individual caseloads. They must also meet with the property managers so that problem tenants can be dealt with before they cause damage. Consistency among the different providers is important, too; much depends on a relationship of trust being established between tenants and staff. When that communication and that consistency breaks down you get … well, you get UA Homes.

“We were required to take the people [who had been living at the old UC Hotel], and it was an SRO with a difficult population to begin with,” Felix says. “It wasn’t like we were able to choose residents who were able to get the most from this housing.” “We didn’t kid ourselves,” says boona cheema, executive director of BOSS, the project’s lead social service agency. “We all knew going in that this was going to be a difficult building to manage.”

Its hard to establish the exact moment that the promise of UA Homes began to fade. In the beginning, problems were smoldering, rather than breaking out into a three-alarm blaze. There were minor scuffles in the halls, some low-level drug dealing, some theft. Still, it is important to nip these problems in the bud before they get out of hand. Cheema says that an effort was made to do that. Felix, BOSS, the tenants, and the property managers all worked to pull the building back together when tough times occurred. They were less than completely successful, however, and slowly the effort began to take its toll.

In 1999, the original developer, Susan Felix, announced she was pulling out. Though a number of housing developers vied for the building, it was ultimately taken over by the Berkeley-based nonprofit Resources for Community Development. It seemed a natural choice. With its roots in the co-op movement in Berkeley, RCD had been a pioneer in providing service-enriched housing for HIV and AIDS patients since the late 1980s and had later moved into providing supportive housing for the disabled, homeless, and elderly. Though UA Homes would be one of the larger supportive services housing projects that the nonprofit would own, and though it already had a history of problems, RCD wasnt daunted. It would not be the first time the agency had taken over projects that others had started but found they couldnt finish.

Besides, RCDs role would be quite limited in the day-to-day operations of UA Homes. A property management firm, the John Stewart Company (JSC), would continue to be responsible for running the building, including patrolling the site, collecting tenant rents, handling the leases, acting as a liaison between the owner and the Berkeley Housing Authority, and making the various mortgage payments on the property. All RCD had to do was review the budget figures that JSC provided every month. (Realistically, that was all RCD could do, given that it had no less than fourteen other properties in the Bay Area that needed the same oversight.)

There is a John Stewart — his picture, which is posted on the companys Web site, is reminiscent of a childless grandfather — and his company is one of the largest managers of nonprofit housing. It also manages numerous HUD-funded complexes and has offices up and down the coast of California. We have a great deal of confidence in this company, says RCDs asset manager, Kerry Williams. They have a long history of management, particularly of nonprofits. This is actually the only one with any proven history and track record. And there are very few that know how to manage service-enriched housing. But if RCD had dreamed of a smooth fit between UA Homes and the rest of its property portfolio — a fit lubricated by the management competence of the John Stewart Company — those dreams were soon emphatically shattered. By the end of the year 2000, conditions at UA Homes had deteriorated so far that the city manager’s office was feeling compelled to intervene.

In one twenty-month period, there were nearly two hundred calls from the building to 911 and the police, making UA Homes the single highest generator of emergency calls in the city. Along with the calls, some tenants had been approaching city officials directly, complaining about drug use and lack of maintenance at UA Homes — complaints that they felt weren’t being heard by the service providers and property managers.

When Neighborhood Services Liaison Michael Caplan looked into the case, what he found, he says, was astonishing: disregard for house rules among both management and tenants; untrained staff running the building; desk clerks who were turning a blind eye to rampant drug dealing, and even a small prostitution ring. There were reports of strangers roaming the halls, knocking on doors and trying door handles. If the desk clerk at the front door barred access, intruders would simply go around back, where the door was usually unmanned and ajar. Or they would climb the fire-escape ladder and enter through a window. “They had an on-site manager who was pretty green,” Caplan recalls. “She was a nice person but not trained in building management.” When she heard that the fire escape was a major access point, “she ended up tying off the end of the fire escape,” says Caplan. “So if there was a fire, that would mean you would be stuck in the building.” The fire department noticed the violation and fined JSC $1,500.

By this time, the carefully choreographed dance between managers, service providers, and residents had almost entirely collapsed, and it seemed that everyone was isolated in their little corners of responsibility — the property managers didn’t have time to communicate with service providers, and the service providers, having no idea how the building was being run, were powerless to act on complaints from tenants. This led to a breakdown in both trust and accountability. Boona cheema estimates that less than thirty of the building’s 75 residents were participating in any of its services, and most of those were either utilizing the medical clinic or visiting one of the service providers for a bag of food or bus tickets. The recovery meetings had the same small turnout week after week.

Among those with substance abuse problems were the building’s staff. “I see clients of BOSS’s who have just barely made it out of our programs or are maybe sometimes still living in our programs, who end up getting jobs as night clerk or as day clerk,” cheema says. “When I go there and see somebody behind the front desk who is living in one of my shelters, I get scared.”

Calls to the police ranged from disturbing-the-peace complaints to theft, battery, assault with a deadly weapon, trespassing, fraud, and so-called “5150s” — out-of-control mental cases. “I’ve been dealing with a lot of other situations where calls for service history gives you a good indication of what’s going on,” Caplan says. “It’s usually not nonprofits, though — it’s mostly landlords who don’t pay much attention to their property.”

When Caplan sent a list of calls for police services to RCD, he says that RCD just referred him to the John Stewart Company, saying it was a property management issue. In May, the first in a series of meetings between the John Stewart Company and city staff was held. Caplan says it was clear from the start that a “multi-departmental” approach was needed. “The John Stewart Company desperately wanted us to help them solve the problem,” Caplan says. The property managers agreed to take immediate steps to tighten up security. They consented to hiring a security company to monitor the front desk during the afternoon and evening hours. Doors would remain locked, and they would alarm the fire escape so it couldn’t be used by people seeking to buy drugs in the building.

But those measures couldnt address all the problems of the building. We all agreed it was a small number of people that were causing most of the problems, Caplan recalls. It usually is in this sort of situation. The question is to identify who those people were and deal with them directly and make it safe for the vast majority of people who live there.

This is easier said than done. “Dealing with” problem tenants is a tricky thing in a Section 8 building. It is necessary to have direct proof of wrongdoing by a tenant in order to have him or her evicted. On the social service side of the equation, there were also big philosophical problems: In the supportive housing model, it’s supposed to be the job of the service providers to find a way to work with problem tenants and to keep them housed. And so the two sets of managers in UA Homes came to a dividing of the ways. Service providers wanted to issue warnings to problem tenants. “We expressed to our management companies that warnings regarding an individual’s behavior warrant intervention,” says Kerry Williams of RCD. “We care enough about the housing of this individual that what we want to do first is initiate intervention.”

But by now, property managers, now operating under the scrutiny of city officials, had little patience left for problem tenants. And one sure way they could be evicted was if they were arrested for drugs while living in the building. The way to do that, of course, was to involve the Berkeley Police Department. Responding to the city’s requests for more drug enforcement at UA Homes, the Berkeley police conducted a series of stakeouts at the building. During several weeks in May, the BPD’s Special Enforcement Unit, led by Lieutenant Allen Yuen, utilized a paid informant and undercover officers to enter the building and conduct controlled buys of drugs. On that basis, the police went to court, received search warrants, and proceeded to raid five tenants of UA Homes.

To the project’s social service providers, the Mother’s Day raid by the BPD vice squad represented a near fatal blow to the ideas behind supportive housing. Carol Avery, a BOSS employee, was case manager at UA Homes when the police raided the building on the day of the Mother’s Day brunch. “You can imagine what it was like to be doing a social event, a celebration, three doors away from where the police were shouting and had this woman in handcuffs,” Avery remembers. “The women had to walk through a gauntlet to participate in that event, and I understand a few of them had guns pointed at them as they walked through. I mean, that was really horrible. The whole party was done in half an hour.”

Hannah Foreman was one of the residents who was targeted in the drug raid. Foreman used to be a dancer, and you can tell it by her quick movements and the light way she skips around the possessions stacked high in her tiny room at UA. Her hands, which flutter gracefully upward when she makes a point, seem to be in motion even when at rest. Foreman had been living at UA Homes for nearly five years, and, she admits, for the first few years she was pretty unreachable. She disregarded the building’s prohibition on drugs, and she skirted around many other house rules — bringing guests into her room, for example, without paying the $5 overnight visitor fee. But, she says, that was when she was younger. “I used to be really bad, I would disobey the rules. But that was years ago. I’ve grown up and matured. I appreciate the fact that I have housing.”

Foreman has gone back to school and received her bachelor’s degree while living at UA Homes, and is now saving up enough money to move out, possibly into a home with a room she could turn into a makeshift dance studio.

When she saw the others in UA Homes who were raided, Foreman was incredulous. “We are not the bad children in the building,” she insists. “We are not the really big problems here.” In fact, she points out, the building isn’t even the biggest problem in the West Berkeley neighborhood. “Just walking down 9th Street to my bike, people try to sell me drugs, asking ‘You OK, you alright?'” she says. “And I say, ‘I’m just trying to get to my bike, thank you very much.'”

In all, five raids netted some drugs, but nothing major: scales, baggies of speed, and some vials of ketamine turned up — enough for a weekend, perhaps, but nothing that would indicate serious dealing. (Lt. Yuen says that the drug dealers of the building simply got more careful as the raids progressed.)

If some residents were relieved that the police had taken decisive action, others were angry. Why commando-style raids on an already vulnerable population? Were drugs even the worst problem the building was facing? And what about the concept of “harm reduction” that they had been hearing from their service providers for months?

Harm reduction is another relatively recent idea in the treatment community, requiring that social workers meet their clients wherever they are in the recovery process. “The idea is to reduce the harm to individuals and others [who are] abusing drugs and alcohol,” Javits explains. “The question is, if you’re working with people who are living on the streets and cycling through hospitals for years because of illness and addiction and they relapse when they’re living in supportive housing, should your first approach be to evict them? Or should your first approach be to attempt to work with them to reduce the harm that their addiction is causing to them? If you only start by saying, ‘Well, I’ll help only if you guarantee to me that you’re totally clean and sober…’ I mean, your landlord doesn’t use that standard with any tenant.” On the other hand, Javits sighs, “The bottom line is that harm reduction does not mean tolerance of illegal activity. Illegal activity is illegal.”

While the concept of harm reduction may have been important to the social workers at UA Homes, it meant nothing to the project’s beleaguered property managers who point out that when tenants in UA Homes moved in, they were required to sign an addendum to their leases requiring them to be clean and sober. The clause mandates immediate eviction if a person is using drugs. Moreover, they point out, even if the lease didn’t have that provision, the rules for Section 8 housing are clear — tenants cannot use drugs if they want to keep their housing. “If a person breaks their lease, that person has to be evicted,” says RCD’s project service coordinator Tyrone Payne. “That’s what happens. If a property manager knows that somebody is using and we have proof of that, we have to act.” When police reported finding drugs in five raided rooms, the JSC sent out ten-day eviction notices to the five tenants.

Gerald Hawley has been living at UA Homes for six years. Temporarily disabled from an accident involving machinery that fell on him at a construction site, Hawley dropped into a cycle of drug use and depression. He became homeless and drifted from the streets to shelters back to the streets again until he was referred to UA Homes, where he slowly began to lose the drugs and find a way to go back to school. Now, he is training for a different trade in the construction industry. Hawleys not worried that there will be any more raids at UA Homes: I know the city of Berkeley spent more money than they had planned on spending for the amount of drugs that they got. That was a busted effort. The [drug] task force is only for major busts, he says. Busting people for pipes, the police coulda did that!

But, while not agreeing with the tactics the city used, he still feels that the building needs to change. “The tactics and how they came in here was just ridiculous,” he says. “But it’s like, you need to do that for a wake-up call for the people in this building. The whole thing is, some people in this building have got too big for their britches. They want to do it how they want to do it.” One problem, he says, is that people don’t go to recovery meetings and don’t participate in services. “We need to have some kind of standard. Make it mandatory to go to at least one AA meeting a month, or do some kind of community project or clean-up or whatever else. If you go into this building and we say we have this meeting but you never come to this meeting, it’s not going to do you any good. If you want to do the harm reduction, we’ve gotta kind of push the people. People won’t go if they don’t really want to go, but sometimes you’ve got to push a little.”

In the wake of the raids, the inevitable finger-pointing began. “This one,” boona cheema says, “you can pin on the management company. This is not the first time that UA Homes has had to be cleaned up. I’m sitting here, saying, ‘Come on, this has happened before, we learned the lessons from that, and it happened again.’ This has happened in practically every SRO I’ve been associated with in the last eight years. This is not only a UA Homes situation. These buildings go through what seems like a cycle, where things will be really quiet, then new people will come in, the management company will lose control over the front door and doesn’t have skilled staff, and before you know it you have enough tenants in there who are just really, really difficult, who do not participate in services, and who are breaking almost every rule there is that would ensure a safe and healthy community. It doesn’t take too many of them. Ten out of seventy, two out of seventy can bring a building down if there aren’t the internal controls that need to be there. And the majority of the internal controls are directly related to how well a management company is managing the building. Are they checking people’s IDs? When guests show up, are residents coming downstairs to escort people to their rooms? Unfortunately, what happens is that people start to come and go, and before you know it, nobody really knows who’s coming in and at what time, and what activities are going on at the hotel.”

“This is not typical property management, by any reach of the imagination,” responds RCD’s Williams. “You cannot compare this type of property management with running the type of apartments that you and I would live in. It’s not the same at all.” Even JSC, Williams says, is not perfect at it. “They’re learning too,” he says. “They’re learning like everyone else how to manage service enriched housing.”

To many observers, the problems at UA Homes seemed to illustrate the need for RCD to keep better watch over their own properties. Sawislak says he understands this. At some point, he says, “we would like to manage our own properties. We are responsible for the community. We are responsible for the health of the projects, for their financial ongoing and for the neighbors of these projects. We are the nonprofit that has gone to these cities and said we are going to do these projects. So we hire a management company, and then there’s a question of working with that management company. Maybe, by bringing that in-house, you would have more control. Instead of having to call up another company [to find out what’s happening], you can just walk down the hall and saying, ‘hey.'”

And what of the city? Should it have been more attentive to the manifest problems at UA Homes? Caplan insists that the city shouldn’t have had to get involved with UA Homes. The internal controls, the meetings, the surveillance, the relationships — all were designed to avoid such problems, and none of these controls seemed to be in place at UA Homes. “No,” is his astonished response when asked whether he felt that the different groups had met together for the required regular meetings. “None of these people. I didn’t get a sense that there was a lot of relationship. That doesn’t mean that certain people didn’t meet with certain people, but I got a sense that a lot of these people were essentially strangers to each other.” The problem in his view, Caplan says, is that no one seems to be taking responsibility for the problems at UA Homes. “Like so many things I get involved in, there are many different players with different pieces of it, and they’re always punting to each other,” Caplan says. “So you have a situation where RCD says, ‘We’ve hired a management company,’ and the management company is going, ‘Well, we’re dealing with it the best we can, but we have a real difficult clientele,’ and you have the service providers saying, ‘Well, it’s not a well-managed building,’ and then you have a tenants’ group which is saying, ‘We’re not getting our needs met by anybody.’ And what hadn’t happened is there hadn’t been comprehensive dialogue.”

For her part, Carla Javits sighs when the topic of UA Homes is brought up. She knows people will end up condemning the entire idea of supportive housing because of glaring problems at one site. “I guess to me what [UA Homes] is an example of is that we still haven’t cracked this nut around sustained, consistent, decent, reasonable levels of funding for services and supportive housing. And it makes it very challenging to provide sustained, consistent quality and services over the long haul.

“There are traditional kinds of programs like nursing homes or hospitals, and they’ve existed for a long time. As a society, we’ve figured out how to pay for those kinds of programs. There’s a reimbursement rate, a fixed approach to doing that so you can create a hospital. Just figure out where the pots of money are and you can make that happen and pay for it,” Javits says. “Supportive housing is a relatively new phenomenon. We have not figured out for low-income people how to fund it, and fund it in a way that’s straightforward and provides a reasonable level of reimbursement so we can run consistently quality programs and quality housing everywhere.”

The low funding levels means less-experienced staff and more turnover, leading to problems like the ones UA Homes has seen. “There’s a relationship of trust that needs to be built between the service providers and tenants,” Javits says. “There’s also a relationship of trust that needs to be built between the service providers and property management, so that they can work these issues through in a way that makes sense for the building and the individuals in the building. And when you have low wages and inconsistent funding and a lot of staff turnover, it’s harder to establish those relationships and make them work.”

That instability was graphically demonstrated when, even as the police raids were underway, BOSS announced that it was pulling out as the lead social service agency at UA Homes. That meant that case manager Carol Avery was to be transferred in a month. Worse yet, there was no one immediately to take her place. Avery, who is now based at a homeless drop-in center in Hayward, finds it difficult to talk about her experiences at UA Homes, and the worry she feels about the tenants’ future shows in her face. “It was clear that there was no one going to take my place,” she says. “But what was going to happen? A vacuum was going to be created.”

Have things gotten better since the raids? Caplan points out that calls for service have gone down since then, which he considers an improvement. He notes that JSC has hired a security company to patrol the door, at least temporarily, and the shift of service providers will be complete in September. The crises also spurred the tenants to start organizing. After the raids, tenants took their complaints to Copwatch, which helped them to put the matter before the city’s Police Review Commission last month. (The PRC voted to investigate the matter.) The UA Homes Tenants Association had been in shambles — it was always astonishing when they actually had a meeting, and more so when anyone bothered to show up. But a newly energized group met in UA Homes’ community room shortly after the raids to plan how to create a new tenants committee to represent their needs to RCD. Of the dozen in attendance, the group choose two representatives and planned to add more later. They decided a meeting with RCD is the first order of business.

The room was filled with excitement about the potential of their burgeoning committee, and voices chattered loudly about policy issues and strategy. Foreman was there, listening along with the rest. “If there’s one lesson I’ve taken from these raids,” she says to the group, “it’s that I should help to organize the tenants. Because if these raids happened to me, it could happen to anyone.”

RCD is taking action to get more involved in the operations of UA Homes. To that end, they recently sent out a survey to all the tenants of UA Homes. It asks questions like, “Do you feel safe in the building?” and “When you approach management staff with your concerns do they respond in a timely and appropriate manner?”

Gerald Hawley, attending the tenants’ meeting, scoffs at the survey. He figures if people really cared, they would be sending people over to UA Homes, not little slips of paper. To him, it’s way too little, way too late, and as he leaves the community room, he tosses his survey in the trash can.

The names and some identifying details of the tenants of UA Homes have been changed.