continued Spychalski said residents have been permitted the use of a steam cleaner to kill the bugs, and maintenance staff are willing to steam any resident’s apartment who is unable to do the job themselves. Mattress covers are also being sold in the building’s office. Anyone who cannot afford covers can set up a payment plan. Residents are also shown educational videos about how to deal with the pests.
Grocki said in an interview several days after the meeting that obviously those precautions are not enough because the bugs are still there. Residents were told they could pay for fumigation of their apartments themselves if they wished.
“We’re living in low-income housing,” said Grocki. “Most of us don’t have that kind of money.”
Instead, she purchased her own steamers to kill the bugs, along with bug spray and a mattress cover. She she’s already spent hundreds in an attempt to get rid of the bugs and paying for fumigation herself is not an option.
Scott Peterson, an attorney for the housing authority, said officials had looked into fumigating the whole building, but because of limited funding it was not a viable option.
Spychalski told the council that residents should not be frightened of retaliation if they report the bugs, although according to Grocki after she first spoke to the city about the bugs a notice was placed on the bulletin board that stated rent may increase to pay for extermination fees. This led some residents to become angry with her for speaking up.
“I didn’t do it to be vengeful, I spoke up because I can’t live like this anymore,” she said. “I, like many of the people who live in Stonequist, have no place else to go.”
According to Spychalski, some residents may not have come forward about having bugs because they feel embarrassed.