CALL 6: Families living in troubled apartments

Posted at 8:58 PM, Jun 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-01 20:58:59-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- Global Ministries Foundation is being asked to repay $618,962 in housing benefits for the past year over allegations they failed to provide safe or sanitary housing. 

The Indianapolis Housing agency accuses GMF of welfare fraud and providing questionable living conditions to families receiving taxpayer-supported rent assistance known as Section 8. The agency says 147 families will be placed in other apartment buildings as soon as possible.

The complexes involved include Berkley Commons Apartments located at 8201 Madison Avenue, Mann Village at 4010 Mann Village Road, Peppermill Farms at 6830 Mill View Drive and Stone Lake Apartments at 2913 East Hanna Avenue.   

“We can’t turn a blind eye to waste, fraud and abuse of the taxpayer’s money or mistreatment of the residents who live there and used their hard earned money to pay rent there,” said Bud Myers, Indianapolis Housing Agency executive director. 

Call 6 Investigates did reach out to Global Ministries Foundation. The CEO and President of GMF, Rev. Richard Hamlet, provided us with this statement: 

“GMF’s affordable housing properties in Indianapolis continue to be heavily sought after places to live by those in the work force in need of affordable housing. Though we have only one partial Section 8 property in Indianapolis, Peppermill Farms, it is an important home to families in Indianapolis and it recently received a HUD REAC inspection score of 88, which places it in the top tier of affordable housing projects. Several of our other properties accept housing assistance vouchers and have consistently had waiting lists for applicants seeking affordable housing. GMF is committed to finding solutions to systemic issues in low income housing for the benefit of all residents.” 

Global Ministries Foundation is also challenging similar housing complaints in Florida and in its home of Tennessee. 

Call 6 obtained a copy of a housing inspections report detailing the complaints against the four properties. At Mann Village, inspectors referenced “defective and worn out roofs." We did witness several tarps on several units. Tenant Janet Brooks, who does not receive Section 8, has a small tarp on her roof. She praised maintenance at the complex, saying, “We've never had any problems here – it's nice here."

As we were about to talk to her neighbor, the property manager ordered us off the property.

Mann Village is one of 4 properties owned by Tennessee-based Global Ministries Foundation.

One of the worst GMF sites cited in the IHA report is Berkley Commons. Pictures from previous inspections are reasons why 72 families will have to move somewhere else.

Among the displaced is Bradley Nickel. He’s an Army veteran who served his country in Afghanistan. He's says he’s more afraid of his building management than returning to the battlefield. 

He told Call 6 Reporter Rafael Sanchez that he could not speak freely out of fear that he would be evicted. 

“I was homeless when I moved in here. I don't want to homeless again," Nickel said. 

Based on the complaints, Berkley Commons has to repay $335,264 involving 72 units. Peppermill Farms will have to pay $204,922 for 55 units, Stone Lake Apartments $16,485 for three units and Mann Village Apartment $62,291 for 17 units. 

The Housing agency plans to meet with the affected families to discuss future housing plans.