Houston City Council gets involved following Sunnyside bed bug infestation

HOUSTON - A group of seniors in Sunnyside say they feel mistreated and ignored, living in apartments with a bed bug infestation.

The Simmons Gardens Apartments on Scott Street near Airport Boulevard are for residents who are 55 and older. Some who live there say it's inhumane to have seniors living in apartments overrun with bed bugs.

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"The bed bugs are really, really bad. They are coming out of the walls. They're coming out of the ceiling. They're all in the beds. They are biting my sister and her husband," Lola Walker explains.

It's tough to even look at the pictures of bed bugs crawling all over residents' beds and in their belongings. So imagine living it.

"I don't even hardly sleep anymore because I'm scared. I think they're going to bother me. I think something's crawling on me all the time," says 74-year-old Lillie Littleton who has lived in the Simmons Gardens Apartments for eight years.

"I can't keep living like this," she adds. But she and the others say they can't afford to move or continue to waste money throwing everything out.

"We have thrown away furniture after furniture, clothes after clothes, and I'm tired of replacing. They need help over here," Walker adds. She does not live here, but she's speaking for her sister and brother-in-law, who have health challenges and have lived here 20 years.

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Walker says her sister and sister's husband have battled a bed bug infestation at the Simmons Gardens Apartments since 2019.

"I hate to see them living like this, and I'm tired of seeing them live like this, and it seems like no one cares but their family," adds Walker, who says they have thrown out her sister's furniture, bedding, clothing and everything in the apartment four different times.

She, several residents, and their caregivers say because the problem in the buildings isn't being taken care of at the same time, the bed bugs have been impossible to get rid of.

The Houston Health Department confirms it is currently investigating the bed bug problem at this senior complex and says apartment management has responded and has scheduled pest control.

"This has to be taken care of. All of the residents are seniors. Half of them are handicapped, amputees, disabled in some way" says Walker.

"Feels like they're being mistreated, neglected. They can't enjoy their homes. They're seniors, and they should not have to go through this. They should be comfortable in their own homes, and they're not," says Sheryl Williams, who's a caregiver for one of the residents.

The residents say periodic pest control service hasn't worked, and they want a comprehensive treatment plan to be put in place and carried out.

On Tuesday, after this report was published, Houston City Council members arrived at the complex with a pest control company and began spraying each room of the complex.

If you're battling bed bugs, and you feel the problem is being ignored at your apartment complex, call 311 to report it, so the health department can investigate.

As of when this report was initially published, Simmons Gardens Apartment Management had not returned any calls or emails.