MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When the Problem Solvers first met Lula Scott in March 2020, she had windows in her home that didn’t fit.
“The wind is coming from outdoors cause got this big gap,” she said at the time. “They just need to caulk them windows.”
She even had a plastic tarp covering the ones in her living room to keep cold air from blowing throughout the house.
“You can’t sit in here. You put on socks,” she said. “I just know the windows aren’t right in there.”
She tried to get help from the organization that originally installed the windows in 2016; the Community Redevelopment Agency worked with Habitat for Humanity and spent $19,000 on the work, done through a contractor.
“I been working on them two years trying to get somebody to make them come and do them windows like supposed to,” she said.
But when she couldn’t get anyone to respond, she called the WREG Problem Solvers.
First, the Problem Solvers got the records showing all the work that had been done and then tried to get answers from the CRA, which describes itself as working “with communities to address blight and provide affordable housing.” But the agency’s lawyer, Monice Hagler, said no one worked there anymore who had been a part of the agency in 2016 when Scott’s project started.
Then the pandemic hit and people shifted to working from home.
Multiple emails and voicemails went unanswered until we went to their office and found the director there. When we finally sat down with CRA director Rosalyn Willis, she explained how much turnover had happened at the agency. She also said she looked back at paperwork and saw Scott had signed off on the work.
She questioned the timing. But when we explained the issues we saw, she agreed to send a new contractor back to Scott’s home to assess the work. The contractors confirmed the windows and one of the doors were not installed correctly.
“They said they didn’t caulk them and they didn’t set them in right,” Scott said.
When contractors came back, nearly a year after we first met Scott, they installed new windows and a new door for Scott and her family.
“I’m a happy citizen!” Scott said.
It might’ve taken years, but Scott said she can finally enjoy her Uptown home, especially through a historic Memphis winter.
“I am so thankful I called you. Y’all took care of the problem. I’m warm today in my house because of y’all,” Scott said.
The WREG Problem Solvers have requested all records of projects done by the contractor.