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Gabriel Towers residents struggle without air conditioning

Gabriel Towers 07.06
Posted at 8:54 PM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 23:13:25-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Gabriel Towers apartment complex hasn't had central air conditioning in the building for weeks.

KSHB 41 News met residents who are desperate for relief in the middle of a hot summer in Kansas City, Missouri.

"Somebody’s going to pass out or die in there," Charisse Crawford, who's lived at the complex for three years, said.

Her apartment has not been comfortable of late.

"It’s just been so unbearable," she said.

Crawford has cerebral palsy, and is one of many residents who have a disability that live at Gabriel Towers.

The residents that spoke to KSHB 41 say they're struggling.

"I can’t even cook, every time I cook, the detector goes off," Shelli Jones said. Her son Demarcus is assisting her.

"It’s so bad I can’t even put it into words," Demarcus said. "It’s like 120 degrees in there with no air, it’s hotter than what you cook on the stove."

Brandon Henderson, an organizer for KC Tenants, has been on site assisting those who live at Gabriel Towers.

"At a certain point, we’re talking about people’s lives here, the conditions inside this apartment complex are dangerous," he said. "The city did step in earlier today to mandate that management purchase in-unit AC."

That process started on June 27 with the Kansas City Health Department’s Healthy Homes Rental Inspection Program receiving a tenant complaint about the lack of central air conditioning.

Gabriel Towers told the health department it had ordered a part for its chiller that provides AC to the building, and it was supposed to arrive on Wednesday.

Healthy Homes told building management to either find temporary housing, or order in-home AC units for residents.

Gabriel Towers bought 114 of them, installing them on Wednesday.

Additionally, RideKC stepped in on Wednesday, providing one of their buses as a makeshift cooling center in the Gabriel Towers parking lot, but it's a temporary solution, and left the complex Wednesday afternoon.

"In Kansas City, it is technically not legally required of landlords to provide AC for their residents," Henderson said.

KSHB 41 reviewed the health department's rules and regulations for rental property safety, health and sanitation, with the following clause under the "Heating Facilities Required" section:

"The owner shall provide and maintain in good operating condition the facilities for heating every habitable room and every room containing a toilet, shower or bathtub to such temperature as required. Minimum 65 degrees." There is no text in these rules and regulations pertaining to cooling systems or centralized air conditioning.

At Gabriel Towers, residents are desperate.

"Too hot for anybody to do anything," Charrise Crawford said.

KSHB 41 reached out to the Gabriel Towers building manager for a comment, but did not hear back before this story published.

For more information about the Healthy Homes Inspection Program, and how to make a complaint about a rental property, click here.