Neighbors trying to help Pico-Union elderly woman in deplorable conditions

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An elderly woman in public housing is living in deplorable conditions that include mold, roaches and broken plumbing and neighbors are hoping to get her some help. (KABC)

An elderly woman is living in deplorable conditions that include mold, roaches and broken plumbing, and neighbors are pressuring building managers to get her some help.

Inside the apartment of Emilia Chaves on Bonnie Brae Street in the Pico-Union district, the hoarding conditions are extreme: personal belongings piled so high it's hard to navigate.

The disrepair is just as extreme: scalding hot water in the kitchen sink that won't turn off, holes in the ceiling, roaches and rats, mold, wet carpet.

A neighbor of the 87-year-old woman who is trying to help her questions why public officials and the property management company haven't done more to help her.

"How could she possibly pass any kind of inspection in this condition?" asked neighbor Mere Kensington. "I just feel she was completely neglected."

She thinks Alpha Property Management should have done something sooner. The company staff would only speak to ABC7 through their front gate and said some fixes were being made.

A few days after ABC7's initial visit, the bathroom ceiling had been patched, but the other problems remained.

"That one hole is not going to solve a problem of Emilia sitting here sick with an eye infection, her being ignored," Kensington said.

The building is part of the federal government's HUD program.

The LAPD says there are issues with other units in the building as well, including mold. Having a city building inspector condemn the property, police say, would get Chaves relocated to a safer place.

On Friday, the Housing Authority of Los Angeles sent a notice to the property owner, who has until the close of business Wednesday to respond with a plan.

Police also say elder abuse charges are possible.

Kensington set up a GoFundMe account for Chaves. If you would like to donate, you can visit

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story stated that the woman was in public housing, but the building is privately owned.
Related Topics:
housingpublic housingelder abuseelderly womanPico-UnionLos AngelesLos Angeles County
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