11/26/2011 // Paris, Texas, US // TiffNews10 // News Desk
Paris, Texas – Residents of two local, low income apartment communities, George Wright and Booker T. Washington homes, both operated by the Paris Housing Authority have expressed concerns following receipt of a letter notifying them that pre-set thermostats will be installed in their units, leaving them unable to set temperatures comfortable for their families during the cold winter months.
The daughter of one elderly resident, who chooses to remain anonymous, told WiredPRNews.com upon learning of the changes “my father is 74 years old, and can’t stand to live in the cold like that.”
The letter dated November 21, 2011 sent out to residents on Paris Housing Authority letterhead states, “HUD advises that residents who are used to unlimited heat settings may be uncomfortable with the new settings and residents should be advised of such and dress appropriately.”
The letter further asserts, “Also be advised under no conditions should you use your stove or oven to heat your unit. This is a safety hazard and will result in a lease violation. Work orders concerning heat should be called in only if your unit is below 70 degrees. Work orders called in for heat not working, when the house is or has been heated by using the oven or stove burners, and the temperature is above the program level of the thermostat thereby preventing the heat from coming on will result in a service charge.”
The above statement elicited reactions from some who feared residents could even be penalized for issues that cooking everyday in their units may cause for the proper working of the newly installed thermostats during the cold climates.
A resident, who took her concerns about the purported energy conservation initiative directly to HUD, stated the move resulted in the agency reporting her complaint to the Paris Housing Authority Director, who then allegedly inferred residents would have to “wear more clothes” if they were too cold in their homes with the controlled settings.
Some say the HUD initiative for energy conservation is not a necessary measure for reducing the stated burden of rising costs in utilities, as implied by the Housing Authority letter, when residents have been required to pay for overages in energy costs for years. Residents now say they are unsure of where to turn for help in preventing the measure from being fully implemented, but are seeking support so they will not have to be subjected to having to endure excessive cold temperatures in their homes during the coming months.