Residents of senior living complex in Penn Hills frustrated, waiting for elevator to be fixed

·2 min read

Seniors are stranded in their apartments for weeks without a working elevator.

Two weeks ago, Channel 11 News shared that Beechtree Commons, a senior living apartment in Penn Hills, had left elderly residents stranded in their apartments for one month with no working elevator.

On July 6, Channel 11 News aired our first report, and on that same day, the complex’s parent company reached out, confirming that the repairs would be made immediately. However, now six weeks and counting, the elevator is still out of service.

“They can’t put a Band-Aid on the situation anymore,” said Carmillia Strong, a resident at Beechtree Commons.

The elevator at the complex has been out of service for more than a month. Two weeks ago, tenant Carmillia Strong told Channel 11 News that her elderly neighbors are stranded in their apartments with no way out.

“People are crying. Their family members are frustrated, and they do not know what to do,” said Strong.

Strong said she has tried every avenue to push for the repairs, but still nothing has changed.

“We’ve lost all hope. Every week, they say they’ll be here next week; then the following week, they say next week. Since the third of June, that’s all we’ve heard,” said Strong.

After receiving what seems like endless excuses and delayed repairs, tenants want answers directly from the building’s owner, National Church Residence.

“I am not blaming the elevator company or the maintenance guy. I am not blaming our property manager. This is truly National Church Residence, and this is a slap in the face for this nonprofit group,” said Strong.

Channel 11 News also reached out. National Church Residence said in a statement they have provided goody bags and food for residents on multiple occasions during the weekslong wait. They also again claimed a technician was on-site for the final repairs.


“National Church Residences has been working diligently with the Schindler Elevator Corporation to restore service since the beginning of the outage. A Schindler technician is onsite again today with a part that has been on backorder for several days. We are hopeful this part will be the final solution to returning the elevator to full service for our residents. We want to thank our residents and their families for their patience and for supporting each other throughout this process. Additionally, we want to thank our onsite staff for their continued efforts in attending to the needs of our residents to ensure they are safe and sound in their homes. The safety of our residents is a top priority, therefore fire and emergency services have been on standby to assist with resident needs beyond the staff’s abilities, such as providing a lift for those needing help negotiating the stairs so they can keep their appointments.”

- Director of Public Relations, Todd Hutchin

“You can’t get out, so here is something for you to do. But it will never be enough until things work properly; it just will not be enough,” said Strong.

Channel 11 News contacted HUD about the situation, and a spokesperson for the department provided this statement:

“HUD is aware of the elevator problems resulting from a recent storm and is actively engaged to ensure management is meeting the needs of residents using all available resources.”

Currently, the elevator is still out of service.

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