Hope Community Center responds to resident's complaints

Posted at 6:18 PM, Mar 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-26 14:41:25-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Terrible living conditions, accusations of discrimination; these were the complaints from a mother of five living at the Hope Community Center right here in Tallahassee.

Now, the Center is responding and has answers for the complaints.

Vanessa Pastoriza had several issues, the top three were the condition and repair of the facilities, pest infestations, and discrimination. The conditions at the Hope Community Center were downright terrible according to Vanessa Pastoriza.

"There was people messing up the bathrooms," said Pastoriza. "It was very filthy."

In addition to the way the facility looked, Paztoriza claimed there were issues with pests and, one of the most damning accusations, discrimination against her and her sister.

In response, the Center took immediate action to fix the following critical complaints:

  • Facilities condition
  • Pest control
  • Discrimination

"What the resident brought to our attention is not something we're unaware of," said Hope Community Center director Sylvia Smith.

Smith says they responded with not just one but two pest control treatments within the last week. She says the bedbugs Pastoriza spoke of were contained in building five. Residents were required to move their belongings to an onsite pod until the situation was resolved.

"We rented a pod to put everyone's possessions in, and then a month of treatment begins," said Smith.

And with regards to the discrimination claims, Smith says she responded to the complaints in a confidential meeting with their resident, and that Pastoriza is satisfied with their resolution.

"Frankly, she hit the nail on the head at the very end of your story, and that is that without these facilities, the program can not continue be that successful, it cannot continue to meet the needs long term," said Smith.

Smith also provided WTXL with a comprehensive budget plan for building 5, with projected costs for repair coming in at more than $12,000. She says Pastoriza's complaints have helped launch a campaign to raise more than $200,000 needed for safety, structural integrity, and ADA accessibility for the entire complex.

"It was important to us to make sure key donors and key elected officials knew that we had identified these problems and put the price tag on the situation," said Smith. "And now they know, and now everyone knows."

Smith says the goal is to have the Hope Community Center facilities completely renovated by the year 2020, and host a grand reopening to celebrate their 15th anniversary.