Nonprofit fails to make water bill payments to SAWS, leaving hundreds of SA residents without running water Tuesday

Water was shut off at multiple complexes run by Pico Union Housing on Monday night due to management failing to make payments. The faucet has since turned back on.

SAN ANTONIO — Families and children at the Westwood Plaza and Roselawn Apartments woke up to no water Tuesday.

According to officials with San Antonio Water System (SAWS), California-based nonprofit Pico Union Housing failed to pay more than $120,000 in outstanding payments for water, resulting in the utility’s decision to shut off the supply Monday night. 

“We all pay our water bills… we do not need to be going through this situation,” said Juliann Bienvenidez, a resident at the Westwood apartments.

Gloria Farias, executive director for Pico Union Housing, shifted some responsibility back to renters. She said her organization has paid some of what is owed, but they got to this point because tenants have not paid their bills.

“I’m not blaming anybody,” she said. “It’s our responsibility, it’s just that not many people have paid their rent nor their water.” 

Farias claims she has entered into a payment plan with SAWS, but a representative with the utility said that wasn’t true. The representative did say the nonprofit entered into a payment plan, but failed to make payment and broke the contract.

Farias said it doesn’t matter whether people have paid or not paid their bills; everyone has their water off.

“Because it has to be a whole building… we have enough for that building that we’re looking for right now,” she added.

Farias said their goal is to have the water on by Tuesday night, but residents told KENS 5 they heard from Farias that it might be days before it’s turned back on. 

Regarding the sudden notice of water being shut off, Farias didn’t have an answer. 

She did add that the nonprofit is trying to pull money from other properties to try and help this one.

Renters at Serenity Residences also had their water cut off. As of Tuesday night, SAWS confirmed that those three complexes – Serenity, Roselawn and Westwood Plaza – had water service once again after owners entered into new payment arrangements.

Only an eight-unit complex along West Magnolia remains without water due to unpaid water bills. 

“Residents should not be punished for the landlord’s lack of response and their neglect of duty to care for their tenants,” Councilwoman Marina Alderete Gavito said in a statement earlier in the afternoon. “I would have preferred to have seen SAWS take another route that would not impact residents, but instead focus on holding irresponsible landlords accountable. The actions of SAWS lack compassion for our tenants who are unable to defend themselves in cases like these.”

“In addition,” she added, “SAWS executed simultaneous disconnections across the city. Staggering the disconnections would have allowed the city departments to help each apartment complex on a case-by-case basis. Instead, the city’s capacity to rectify this situation is now spread out between the remaining complexes that have not yet made payments.”

[embedded content]


Original News Source

Click here for Superior HOA Management