Rat, roach problem plagues SAHA

Drought may have brought on critter problem

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Housing Authority is at the tail end of a rat and roach epidemic at some of its biggest properties.

Over the last six months, SAHA has seen roach infestations, rat infestations and fleas at its properties and has paid thousands of dollars for bait boxes and rodent exclusion.

That means sealing up the holes.

Residents, who wished to remain anonymous, said they have seen rodents and vermin.

"It was just bad," said a male resident of Cassiano Homes. "I mean, there was rats and roaches all over the place."

A female resident agreed.

"We would kill like three in a morning or night," the female resident said. "We'll see them on the sticky traps."

At Cassiano Homes, SAHA spent more than $38,000 for pest control. At Lincoln Heights, the total was close to $64,000. But the biggest expense so far this fiscal year has been the Alazon-Apache Courts at $73,000.

SAHA spokeswoman Melanie Villalobos said reports of infestations began showing up in September in the midst of a staggering drought. She said the agency spent what it had to to solve the problem.

"Shortly after receiving those reports, we implemented a strike team to go door-to-door and fully assess the conditions in each of the units," Villalobos said.

She said factors that led to the problem included bad housekeeping in some units, questionable pest control plans and bad SAHA management.

"We certainly made some management changes," Villalobos said.

She said the agency has also been treating whole buildings rather than individual units and that it has been working to reduce pests.

SAHA residents are urged to call 477-6800 for a 24-hour response to pest problems.

SAHA's budget this fiscal year for pest control is around $175,000. The agency has spent some $340,000 so far.