Memphis/ Community & Society
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Published on May 08, 2024
Memphis Slams Serenity Towers with "Chronic Nuisance" Petition Amid Ongoing Resident ComplaintsSource: Google Street View

The City of Memphis is taking a stand against Millennia Housing Management, the organization behind the Serenity Towers senior living complex, which has been the subject of residents' complaints and numerous calls to emergency services. In a legal move, the city filed a petition to label Serenity Towers as a "chronic nuisance," citing a myriad of ongoing issues at the facility located on South Highland Street near the University of Memphis campus.

According to Action News 5, the petition details persistent problems like malfunctioning elevators, a lack of adequate HVAC, insufficient hot water, and poor pest control efforts, forcefully highlighting the building's unsuitability. Elevators often fail, leaving residents stranded, and the air conditioning breakdowns have caused dangerously high temperatures. The City of Memphis also points specifically to more than 2,000 calls for service to the Memphis Police Department and 626 transfers to the Memphis Fire Department as evidence of the site's issues.

Residents of Serenity Towers have been vocally suffering, with many like Henry Smith Jr. expressing frustration over the prolonged poor living conditions. "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired," Smith Jr. said in an interview with ABC24. His complaints are echoed by other occupants and community organizers who see the filing as overdue.

Alex Uhlmann of the Memphis Tenants Union has described Millennia as being a "bad actor in the city for a long time," according to the same report by Action News 5. The petition, aimed hopefully at alleviating the chronic distress among tenants, is set for a court hearing on May 14. Meanwhile, Millennia's real estate troubles don't end in Memphis, with the City of Atlanta also launching legal action for not maintaining safe conditions in one of their buildings and owing significant relocation costs.

Further complicating Millennia's position is a debarment order from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, issued last April, preventing any new business endeavors with HUD or Section 8. In light of these developments, Millennia decided to divest most of its properties and bow out of the affordable housing market, as stated in a report by FOX13. This move follows a documented history of failings at Serenity Towers, including a lack of security, deficient maintenance staff, and ongoing elevator issues.

With the hearing impending, residents, city officials, and observers alike are closely monitoring to see what remedies will be enforced on Millennia and if this marks a turning point for the living standards at Serenity Towers.