Apartments crawling with mice, roaches but fearful tenants stay quiet

Thousands of the city’s poorest and most vulnerable people live in unhealthy and unsafe apartments. They stay silent because they fear being evicted or deported, and they continue to live in misery.

Investigative (California)

Andrea Castillo, Barbara Anderson, Bonhia Lee
Fresno Bee (CA)
May 8, 2016

Tags: Housing: Landlord-Tenant

Organizations mentioned/involved: Central California Legal Services (CCLS)


City officials knew for decades about problems with low-income housing. Property owners faced few repercussions from a city still reeling from the effects of the Great Recession that slashed deeply into code enforcement. But by refusing to put teeth into inspections and enforcement efforts, the city failed to protect many of its most at-risk citizens.

Fresno’s low-income housing crisis was thrust into the spotlight last November with the news that a central Fresno apartment complex, home to 1,000 people, had neither heat nor hot water. Residents couldn’t cook or keep their apartments warm at the coldest part of autumn. By the time officials learned about the gas line closure, tenants at Summerset Village Apartments had been cold and hungry for a week. One elderly tenant would later die of respiratory failure brought on by pneumonia.