Army veteran in Cathedral City calls apartment "slum like"; asks CBS Local 2 for help

Veteran concerned about "being homeless again"

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - Update:  Shorty after our story aired, and after it was published online, Mr. Scofano informed CBS Local 2 that the property manager, and owner of the apartment complex, responded to his concerns.  Scofano tells us the plumbing issues in his bathroom were addressed, and says the property manager installed a new oven in his kitchen.

Original story:

CBS Local 2 "Stands for You", so we are responding to a call for help, from a valley veteran who says the apartment he is living in is like a "slum".

CBS Local 2's Tom Tucker spoke with the vet, who says because he's drawing attention to the problems, he could be forced to move out at the end of the month.

It's at the Cathedral Palms Senior Apartments on Landau Boulevard in Cathedral City where 56-year-old army veteran Enzo Scofano has concerns with his studio apartment.

"I feel like I am being harassed by the manager for just pointing out certain things that need to be repaired in my unit," said Scofano.

Scofano's complaints include a security door which is "not secure" he says because it's been "tampered with".

Inside the bathroom, he says the pipe underneath the bathroom sink leaks, causing rust spots on the floor.

He also says the bathtub faucet is leaky.

His biggest complaint has to do with the oven.

He says it's "unusable".

"I should not have to scrape food particles from the last tenant who used it and cleaning chemicals from the person who attempted to clean the stove before I use it," said Scofano.

Not satisfied with the response from the property manager at Cathedral Palms, the veteran contacted the Riverside County Housing Authority, which sent out an inspector, who gave Enzo a document indicating the unit "failed" inspection.

Enzo says he was informed if the property manager at the complex did not make the necessary repairs by the end of march, the county would no longer pay Enzo's rent, under the "Veteran's Voucher" program.

If that happens, the former school custodian says he'll be forced to leave.

But, he wants to stay.

"I don't want to be homeless again, but I feel I am being forced to be homeless because the manager in this unit refuses to do any work, basic, basic repairs," said Scofano.

The property manager would not comment on camera, but instead directed us to the non-profit, affordable housing company which owns the complex, "National Community Renaissance", also known as "CORE".

Spokesperson Steve Lambert provided a written response to Enzo's complaints.

"the unit met or exceeded all safety, health and maintenance standards when the resident moved in. all repairs reported to us since then have been and will continue to be handled quickly and thoroughly."

"I want to be able to have the management to resolve this in one way or another," said Scofano.

We asked for a response from the County Housing Authority to Mr. Scofano's complaints and received a written statement from Deputy Housing Director John Aguilar.

The statement reads, "Mr. Scofano is a current Veterans Voucher Holder residing at Cathedral Palms Senior Apartments in Cathedral City.  I can confirm that Mr. Scofano is not being terminated from the  Voucher Program.  Various maintenance repairs requested by Mr. Scofano have been completed by the owner, and the Housing Authority is working with the Property Manager and Mr. Scofano to ensure all repairs are completed to everyone's satisfaction.  Housing Authority Staff will be meeting with the property manager and Mr. Scofano this week to ensure the repairs are completed and are sufficient.  It is our understanding from Mr. Scofano that if the repairs are made to his satisfaction, he would prefer to stay in the unit.  If Mr. Enzo does decide he wishes to relocate, we will work with him to ensure he finds a suitable unit to his liking." 

For now, all Scofano can do is wait, and hope his concerns are taken care of.

"It almost seems like a slum lord situation, and it's pretty sad.  It's something that needs to be addressed," said Mr. Scafano.

CBS Local 2 will continue to follow Mr. Scofano's efforts to get his concerns addressed.

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