Councilman Gil Cedillo introduced a motion Friday aimed at immediately restoring elevator service at Cathay Manor, a 16-story apartment complex building for low-income seniors that has had inoperable elevators since Oct. 15.
The owner and operator of the Cathay Manor in Chinatown were charged Oct. 28 by the City Attorney’s Office with 16 misdemeanors related to the lack of elevator service.
“My paramount concern is for the safety, security and accessibility of our seniors and tenants at Cathay Manor. It is totally unacceptable to have inoperable elevators,” Cedillo said in a statement Friday. “That is why I took action by introducing a motion to contract with a qualified elevator repair company to immediately restore elevator service on a temporary basis, and to the extent feasible, repair the elevators.”
Cathay Manor houses about 250 senior citizen residents, some of whom are disabled, and Cedillo’s office said the inoperable elevators have created unsafe and hazardous conditions.
Cedillo said Friday that he also secured the commitment of local nonprofits to provide staff and volunteers to assist seniors living in the building. The nonprofits include Chinatown Service Center, Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, Chinese American Citizens Alliance Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Department of Disability and Saint Barnabas Senior Center.
The attendants will help tenants access groceries, medications and other necessities, and Cedillo’s office on Friday arranged for a mobile grocery truck to visit the complex to distribute hundreds of bags of free fresh goods, as well as provide free laundry services.
Residents will also receive one meal daily four days a week through a food delivery program by Cedillo’s office.
Gong (Don) Toy, the CEO and president of the complex’s owner, Chinese Community on Aging Housing Corp., could not immediately be reached Friday. He told City News Service on Oct. 28 that mechanics had been working on the elevators for two weeks.
“They’ve been trying real, real hard to get it functioning. Unfortunately, because they’re so old, there’s no readily parts for some of them,” Toy said. “Why doesn’t it work? I don’t know, I’m not a mechanic. We trust whoever’s there, and I was told that because after 20 years, they’re no longer obligated to make parts or have parts readily available.”
The 16 charges against CCOA and Toy are related to the alleged failure to address inoperable elevators over the last two months, the alleged failure to properly maintain and repair the building and equipment inside the building, the alleged failure to test and maintain equipment in accordance with the fire department’s fire safety protocols and their alleged failure to comply with the city’s orders to comply with the law.