Volunteers of America Responds to Complaints at Durango Senior Living Complex – The Durango Herald


Empty apartments to be filled, VOA is looking to fill positions

The owners of the Cedar View apartments, Volunteers of America, have been without a manager and have been unable to fill vacancies for over a year. (Nicholas A. Johnson / Durango Herald)

Volunteers of America, which manages Cedar View apartments in northern Durango, said it was working to fill vacancies in the 29-unit apartment complex for low-income seniors.

In interviews last week, residents of Cedar View said the VOA was slow to fill seven vacant apartments, and it was slow to hire a manager and a maintenance worker for the complex. apartments. Residents said some of the apartments had been vacant for more than a year.

After the publication of a story in the HeraldThe VOA responded by saying that the organization is working to fill the vacant positions and currently has seven open offers to fill the apartments. Applicants have 10 days to respond to an apartment offer.

“Of course we want all units to be filled,” VOA spokesperson Vanessa Clark said. “Unfortunately, what happens is people will go through the whole process, they will fill out the paperwork, and then for some reason, at the very last minute, they will walk away.”

Clark speculates that the COVID-19 pandemic is the reason the candidates are not following through.

“They can find a different solution, they can decide to stay where they are,” Clark said. “It seems that for older people especially during the pandemic, there was some reluctance to want to move into a community living environment. “

Cedar View Apartments resident Shirley Roberts said she didn’t think VOA had so many people turning down apartments.

“People have been on this waiting list for a year or two,” said Roberts. “I can’t imagine that if something is available people won’t take it.”

Regarding the search for a new manager for Cedar View Apartments, VOA said it is looking for someone with specific qualifications to fill the role. VOA has posted on a number of job boards to find a new manager.

“Hiring for this position has been a challenge as the person we hire must meet certain requirements set by the regulatory bodies, but we are working diligently to find a qualified candidate,” Clark wrote in an email to Herald.

Clark said that although the position has not been filled, a rotation of three staff, including two senior managers, have regularly visited the property and worked with residents.

But Roberts said VOA staff have been mostly callous and unprofessional when it comes to residents’ concerns.

“They don’t give a shit about all the calls that have come in to them,” said Roberts. “They just don’t handle this in a really professional way.”

The complex is funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The VOA complex scored 99 out of 100 in its HUD inspection of its property valuation center in July. Fifteen units were inspected, with the only issue HUD found being a refrigerator in one of the apartments that required the door gasket to be replaced.

One of Roberts’ main complaints is that people have smoked in the non-smoking building, and she said without a manager on site there was no consequence to residents who continue to smoke. She said she understood residents caught smoking in the building were given three warnings before any action was taken.

“People here are 62 and over, and there are serious health issues with several,” said Roberts.

Clark said it’s true that Cedar View is understaffed, which is a problem for many employers these days. The VOA works to fill vacant apartments and hire for vacancies, including running ads on six search engines and other locations, she said.

“Providing quality services and care to our seniors is a top priority for Volunteers of Amercia,” she said in an email. “… Service and cleanliness have not diminished due to staff issues. “

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