Phones still not working at North Side public housing development

A problem with telephone lines at Lathrop Homes remains unrepaired months after residents were led to expect that relief was coming soon.

The problem, which has been blamed on faulty wires crowded into a pipeline of telephone cables, was brought to the attention of Chicago Housing Authority officials five months ago.

The resulting static-filled phone lines at the North Side public housing development make conversation difficult, and sometimes quit working altogether, Lathrop council president Juanita Stevenson told CHA commissioners in February.

A pipeline supplying a section of the development is so jammed with telephone cables that AT&T employees have been unable to reach faulty wires to replace them.

CHA Director of Operations Duwain Bailey said in April that CHA's repairs on the pipe would be completed in a month, leaving AT&T free to do its work.

But three months later, the problems continue. In fact, Stevenson says more problems have been discovered elsewhere in the development.

"They really haven't improved," Stevenson says. "There's AT&T trucks (at the development) every single week."

The CHA released a statement Friday saying it did not believe the telephone problems were widespread.

"The Chicago Housing Authority believes, at this time, that residents are only experiencing intermittent disruptions to their phone service," the statement says.

Some residents may be experiencing more frequent service disruptions, it continued, "and efforts to upgrade the necessary phone infrastructure have already begun."

Those efforts should be completed within the "next couple of weeks," says CHA spokesman Matt Aguilar.

AT&T blamed the housing agency for the incomplete repairs.

"As soon as the CHA installs the required conduit, AT&T will perform the work," says company spokeswoman Meghan Roskopf. "We want to get this done as quickly as possible to restore service to customers out there."

Discuss

BRIAN SHEPEHRD, 07-24-2008

Why keep dumping money into those homes. Just tear them down already. 90% of the families in Lathrop have been moved out aready.

GEOFF DOUGHERTY, 07-25-2008

Yes, and apparently the remaining 10% won't be able to call their moving company.