DENVER (KDVR) – A serious problem has been impacting seniors living in subsidized housing at the Columbine Towers off of Federal Boulevard and West Colorado Avenue. The 15-story building currently has broken elevators, which have been forcing residents on higher floors to brave flights of stairs.
Some neighbors aren’t going out at all.
Antonia Caballero, 79, has lived in the complex for nine years.
She said there had been multiple maintenance issues that management neglected to fix but this one nearly cost her her life.
“She was very active, everything’s within walking distance,” Antonia Caballero’s granddaughter and interpreter, Tiffany Ward, said. “You know, her stories, her library, her doctor her bank, and now she’s too scared to even go out and do regular daily things that she would normally do.”
Caballero said the living complex has always had elevator issues, highlighting that one has been typically broken at all times.
“[Property management] kept claiming that they were going to fix that one elevator that was broken down until eventually there were none,” Ward said.
On June 24, there was a notice posted on the elevator that said the elevator repairs would take 10 hours and would fall on June 26. However, as of July 5, the repairs still haven’t been made.
Now, with none of the elevators working 15 stories up, many seniors are stuck in their rooms due to physical limitations. Still, Caballero would make the trek to get groceries.
“There are actually chairs on certain floors for them to kind of like rest, she would stop and she would rest in the chairs that were readily available and then just kind of keep going to [higher] floors until eventually, she would make it up,” Ward translated.
On Sunday, Caballero tried the climb with bags of groceries. A neighbor offered to help carry one of the bags and would wait for her to catch her breath every few floors.
“When she got to the tenth floor, she couldn’t do it anymore. She ended up losing consciousness. She fell probably about six to eight stairs from what I saw. She hit her head on the wall on the way down, made it all the way to the bottom of those steps and she came back to when her neighbors were putting ice on her neck and pouring water on her head,” Ward explained.
She’s understandably afraid to leave her home, so her granddaughter has been bringing her essentials.
“She said if there’s ever a fire she’s going to burn here,” Ward said. A worst-case scenario Ward can’t begin to comprehend.
“My mom passed away when I was 10, you know, and by the age of 11, my twin sister [and I] were already orphans and grandma’s all we got,” Ward said.
Caballero has been speaking to Jason Flores-Williams, an attorney who plans to file a lawsuit. He said that this goes beyond a violation of the Fair Housing Act and code violations.
“The senior citizens are trapped because they can’t go up and down the stairs,” Flores-Williams, who now represents Caballero, said. “Disabled residents are shut in. The building is dangerous. This isn’t a landlord-tenant issue, but a matter of human dignity and civil rights.”
Statement from Hudson Grove:
We understand the urgency and have been in constant communication with our Elevator Maintenance Contractor so we can get a better ETA for the repairs. We have been informed that the parts that needed to be refurbished, should be in this week, which will then be installed to get an elevator up and running.The Regional Manager for Hudson Grove