IN YOUR CORNER: Disabled mother and son stuck in apartment following renovations

In Your Corner

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Disabled and physically unable to leave their apartment, a metro family calls KFOR. They tell ‘In Your Corner’ apartment renovations have rendered them helpless in their own home.

The Isola Bella apartments on NW 63rd are under construction, and Frank and Judy McCollum say the renovations have gone on for some time.

“I do feel like a prisoner,” said Frank. “I can’t get to church on Sundays, and that’s very disappointing. Church is very important to me.”

The mother and son moved to the complex last August.

But two to three months back, they say concrete work outside caused maintennance to remove a railing on stairs outside their building.

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Judy McCollum

Judy and Frank, who are both disabled, are now stuck.

“I have to do dialysis three times a week,” said Frank. “In that weakened position there’s no way I can get up the stairs without a rail.”

“I’m 83, I don’t have good balance anymore,” said Judy. “I didn’t think [railing] would be down for this length of time.”

For months now, the only time the McCollums say they can leave is with the help of Frank’s home health aids, or his dialysis team.

“Whenever I go to dialysis, I have someone pushing at my back and helping me get up the hill,” said Frank. “And it’s still horrible.”

“I can’t take the trash out, because I get up with the railing,” added Judy.

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Frank McCollum

Frank says calls for help by himself, Judy, and even his healthcare workers, have gotten nowhere.

News 4 attempted to resolve the issue behind the scenes, but our message was not returned.

So we spoke with management on property.

When asked when the railings might be installed, we were told project crews were finishing up projects nearby first, and the McCollum’s building would follow very soon.

“[Renovation crews] are right behind us right now, installing the railings back there,” said Melissa Wheeler, Isola Bella Property Manager. “[Crews] will be moving [to the McCollum’s building] on Monday.”

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Stairs without railings at the apartment complex.

As for the long delay, we were told it was a matter of project priorities.

“Well, we have, like I said, priority levels, and obviously the bridge across the lake is a big one cause we have to have that secure for people walking across the water,” added Wheeler. “With the cold weather in February, the rains recently, the concrete got held up. You can only do what you can do pertaining to the weather. The weather, too, slowed us down.”

The McCollums have been told moving is an option, but there’s a problem.

“It costs us $300 cause our lease isn’t up,” said Judy. “We’re on fixed income, so I don’t have $300 extra. Plus, the fact we’ll have to pay to have someone move us too.”

We checked with Oklahoma City officials and were told it doesn’t appear the complex is breaking any city code, given the complex’s age.

They may however not be ADA compliant, as those rules read:

“All areas of public accommodation must be fully-accessible.”

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The Isola Bella apartment complex.

However experts tell KFOR the ability to enforce ADA compliance is lacking in Oklahoma.

People living in HUD, or Section Eight housing, can file complaints through the following:

https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/online-complaint

metrofairhousing.org/your-rights/

http://okdlc.org

We’ll follow the situation.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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