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'Start cleaning up your buildings': Tenant calls for better safety and security at one of city’s newest public housing buildings

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It opened just a little more than two years ago with a goal of providing safe and affordable housing for those in need.

Now some tenants at 122 Baseline Rd. W., a public housing apartment, say their building has become overrun by crime and drugs.

“Well in my 19 months [living here], we’ve had a murder, numerous stabbings inside and outside the building. Too many times for police calls. Too many times I’ve seen the ROPE (Repeat Offender Parole Enforcement) squad here,” said tenant Gerry Anderson.

On a tour through the building, Anderson pointed out urine and feces in stairwells, graffiti on walls and doors, holes in drywall, cockroaches in garbage rooms, broken locks on doors, easy access through busted entryways, and in one corner of the property, dozens of discarded needles.

“Look at it all,” he exclaimed. “Syringe, syringe, all the tabs.”

Anderson said this past April, he was jumped and stabbed in the head while out having a smoke, pointing to two staples in the back of his skull where the blade went through.

122 Baseline Rd. W., tenant Gerry Anderson, seen on June 19, 2024, stands in a doorway that has been compromised. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV News London)

The final straw, he said, was this past Sunday when he stepped on a used needle in a garbage room.

He couldn’t see when he opened the door to the room because he said someone who had been living in the small, foul smelling space taped over the light sensor.

Anderson is now issuing a public call to the property manager, London Middlesex Housing Corporation (LMHC), to make the building safe to live in.

“Start cleaning up your buildings,” he demanded. “Literally, clean them out. There’s no eviction notices going out, nothing. How many times can you slap a person on the hand before you actually do something?”

CTV News requested an interview with a representative from LMHC to respond to the concerns, but a communications spokesperson said no one was available in person. Instead, LMHC issued the following statement:

“122 Baseline is a small, affordable housing building for which LMCH provides property management services alongside a community partner who provides on-site support services for tenants.

LMCH is working with our partners on the site to address a number of challenges, including community safety and building cleanliness. There are active security patrols at this site, and we add additional cleaning services as required. LMCH continuously monitors these challenges and collaborates with partners to address issues as they arise.

We remain committed to enhancing community health through ongoing adjustments and improvements, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts.

Regarding the incident from the weekend, we received a complaint about an incident that happened and are following our complaint process. For privacy reasons, we cannot comment on incidents involving tenants.”

122 Baseline Rd. W., tenant Gerry Anderson, seen on June 19, 2024, stands in a doorway that has been compromised. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV News London)

In part of the time CTV News visited the building, an unmarked police vehicle with two officers was parked in the rear parking lot. It then moved to a wooded area across the street.

According to Anderson, they’ve been coming regularly to observe the comings and goings at 122 Baseline Rd. W., ever since a town hall meeting for the building earlier this month.

That meeting was co-hosted by ward Coun. Skylar Franke.

She told CTV News she’s concerned about safety at the building herself, and work is already underway to resolve some of the issues raised by tenants.

“Some would include increased security; another option is evicting problem tenants who are causing some of the issues and making the building unsafe. And then as well, building a fence between some of the adjacent properties where there’s some issues happening,” said Franke.

As for Anderson, he said if nothing is done, he’s worried the next person to be hurt will be a child.

“Lot of kids live in this building, and there’s a lot of very nice single moms, and there’s a few ruining it for the many, and nothing’s being done about the few at all,” he said.

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