Elderly and Disabled Residents Stranded in Apartments for Nearly 2 Weeks Due to Broken Elevator

The elevator inside the Ruth Lillian Barkley apartment building in Mattapan reportedly went down on Sept. 14

Several residents of a Boston apartment building, among them elderly and disabled individuals, said they have been stranded in their residences for nearly two weeks after the building’s only elevator broke down.

The elevator inside the six-story public housing building at 19 Monsignor Reynolds Way went down on Sept. 14, according to ABC affiliate WCVB-TV and NBC10 Boston.

Building management later posted a notice that said, “The elevator in your building will be out of service until further notice” according to public broadcaster WGBH.

Now, some residents who rely on the elevator to leave the building, which is part of the Ruth Lillian Barkley Apartments complex, are having a difficult time doing so altogether.

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The Boston Housing Authority (BHA) said repairs to the elevator could take some time. In a statement, shared by WCVB-TV, the BHA said replacement parts for the broken mechanism “are not readily available” due to the elevator’s age “and often take time to arrive.”

An expedited order has been placed, but the part in question is being “delivered from the West Coast,” according to the BHA, which hopes final repairs will begin “in the coming days.”

“We recognize that elevator disruptions are highly frustrating for residents, and share their frustration as their welfare is our top priority,” the BHA said in its statement.

The BHA did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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Robert Burres is among the residents affected by the disruption. Burres, who uses a wheelchair and lives on the fifth floor of the building, said this is the “worst” elevator breakdown he has experienced while living in the building, WGBH reported.

“I’m trapped. I can’t even check my mail, it’s in another building,” Burres told WGBH. “You can’t call to get something. You can’t order anything because no one’s going to bring it up to the fifth floor.”

Lisandra Montes, who also uses a wheelchair, told WCVB-TV and NBC10 that she has missed numerous doctors' appointments due to the latest elevator issue.

Montes, who has spina bifida, said she has avoided leaving the building “because I'm afraid that once I'm downstairs, I won't be able to go back up” to her home on the fifth floor.

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"It really needs to stop, because I'm sick and tired of this abuse. And that's exactly what it is — it's abuse," Montes said, per NBC10.

Sometimes, the elevator has stopped working while people are inside, Burres recently told WGBH.

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“The worst is when the children get trapped, they don’t understand,” Burres explained, “They’re in the elevator screaming. Some of them don’t like to get on the elevator.”

Officials said “a major upgrade” is being planned for the elevator, according to WCVB-TV and NBC10, with $6 million being allocated by the BHA “for a complete overhaul of elevators at Ruth Barkley.”

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