Leavenworth low-income apartment residents desperate for answers after utilities shut off

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LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Dozens of low-income, disabled and elderly people living in a Leavenworth apartment complex are in the dark.

Residents of Woodland Village Apartments have been sitting outside the leasing office, desperate for answers. Their utilities were shut off after they said apartment management didn't turn over federal assistance checks.

"I came up here to get my check, and they're like 'Oh, we're not giving them, not giving them.' So now we're just at a standstill," resident Michaela Nordland said.

Many of Woodland Village's residents get federal rent help from HUD, and the majority also get federal utility assistance.

In the past, utility checks were delivered to the office by the 5th of the month for residents to pay their power bills. But this month, the payments still haven't come, and on Friday residents started getting their electricity shut off with weekend temperatures in the 20s.

"If I lose my electricity, then my girls are gonna freeze, and I can't have that. I'd rather be homeless and on the streets than my kids. I can't have that," Nordland said.

The complex was taken over by new owners on Oct. 1. Residents said Tennessee-based American Apartment Management contracted a temporary worker to run the office.

"They hurry up and shut the office down. She's hiding in a car. Nobody wants to answer to the tenants," one resident said.

That mother, and others, are afraid that having no utilities could lead to getting their children taken away.

"I want to cry. I do. I'm at the point I want to cry," Nordland said.

FOX4 called the ownership company for answers and were referred to a media representative. That person told us it was the first he'd heard of any problems and would contact the CEO immediately to resolve the issue.

But residents fear it'll be too little too late.

"A lot of these families down here were on pay arrangements or utilizing funds to pay utilities. If the pay agreement is broken, they have to go back and have to come up with four and five and six hundred dollars," a resident said.

"We need to figure something out. This is not OK," Nordland said.

A property maintenance man wouldn't answer questions and asked FOX4 to leave. We also asked HUD to look into the problem and are still waiting to hear back.

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