Long Beach Housing Authority officials in the past month sprayed two apartments for bedbugs at the Channel Park Homes and are concerned residents are underreporting infestations.
Channel Park Director Mike Cruz said exterminators were sent to two apartments in January when bedbugs were reported. The Center Street apartment complex in the city’s North Park area north of City Hall received two to three reports of bedbugs last year, Cruz said.
“If they don’t let us know, we can’t treat it. We can’t force people to report it,” Cruz said. The apartments sprayed are on opposite sides of the complex and didn’t indicate a widespread infestation, he said.
Long Beach City Councilwoman Anissa Moore said a middle school teacher reported that two children came to class with bedbug bites, but said the parents were afraid to report the bugs out of concern of being evicted.
Channel Park staff exterminates bedbugs at no cost. But if a resident refuses to allow exterminators into a home, and the authority has to gain access without the resident’s cooperation, the resident will be charged for the services, Cruz said. The Housing Authority maintains the property and exterior, but residents need to keep a clean home, Cruz said.
“My concern is the lack of reporting. If people don’t report it, otherwise it could result in a spread,” Cruz said. “If found, we would treat it. They face no consequences or penalties.”
Moore said she would ask the City Council to investigate the bedbug problem at Channel Park.
“I think we have to look at what’s happening in houses and what are the living situations,” Moore said. “If it’s happened twice, people are keeping a secret and we need to know why they are afraid.”
The housing authority operates with federal funding through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Its board includes five members appointed by the city manager, but does not report to the city and is separate from city government.