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Agency, Lincoln Manor residents, file complaint over bed bugs

LINCOLN — The Alcona County Commission on Aging, along with five residents of Lincoln Manor, have filed a formal complaint with the State Attorney General’s Office regarding the bed bug infestation that exists in a portion of the apartments.

Executive Director Lenny Avery has reached out to state and local government officials, such as state Rep. Sue Allor, District Health Department No. 2 and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

Avery said in an email to The News the Attorney General’s Office has yet to assign an attorney or mediator to look into the matter.

“From what I understand and was told, they don’t represent individuals,” he said. “They act as mediators. This means they will not be able to do anything to this agency punitively. It is unclear if they will be able to force the agency to address the issue at hand.”

Avery said in the email DHD No. 2 officials do not consider bed bugs to be a public health emergency, since bed bugs are considered a nuisance or pest.

According to the Mayo Clinic, bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects that bite the exposed skin of sleeping humans and animals to feed on their blood. They are about the size of an apple seed, bed bugs hide in the cracks and crevices of beds, box springs, headboards, bed frames and any other objects around a bed.

Avery, and other agency staff, began advocating for the residents of Lincoln Manor apartments formally earlier this month, because the bed bug infestation has prevented them from providing the residents with services in over three months.

Avery told Alcona County Commissioners earlier this month the agency had to break its own policy against serving residents in infected homes just so one senior could get a bath. That senior requires a bath three times a week, but they haven’t been able to give her a bath in two months.

Avery said agency staff saw about six bed bugs in that resident’s apartment in the hour and 25 minutes they spent with her.

Each time agency staff are notified of the presence of bed bugs in the apartments, a policy requires them to cancel their services to all residents there. The policy doesn’t permit them to resume services until Management with Prime Properties Management notifies them the apartment is clear of bed bugs.

Prime Properties Management recently told the agency the commons and laundry room were clear of bed bugs, but Avery said they will not say whether the apartments are still infested.

The county Board of Commissioners on Wednesday recommended Avery contact the Village of Lincoln to see if a renters protection ordinance could be written.

Avery said he spoke to Village President Sheila Phillips, and was told an ordinance or zoning regulation would take time to work its way through the planning and zoning committee and could take a few months.

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