Formerly homeless vets living in Detroit building battle bedbugs, problems with A/C

Piquette Square houses formerly homeless military veterans in Detroit

By Shawn Ley - Reporter, Derick Hutchinson

Piquette Square at Brush Street and Piquette Avenue in Detroit's Milwaukee Junction neighborhood on July 24, 2019. (WDIV)

DETROIT - Formerly homeless military veterans living in a 150-unit building in Detroit say they're suffering through the hot summer with inadequate air conditioning and, in some cases, bedbugs.

Bill Carroll said his military career was wrecked by a DUI. He lost everything, and was living and drinking on the streets of Detroit.

When Piquette Square opened at Brush Street and Piquette Avenue in Detroit's Milwaukee Junction neighborhood, Carroll said he got a place to live and a home base to reclaim his life.

"It is phenomenal what can be done if you set your head to it," Carroll said.

Southwest Solutions built and operates Piquette Square. In its ninth year, the company is experiencing problems. An investigation by the Detroit News revealed complaints about bedbugs, the front doors are being worked on and a heating and cooling system meant to be environmentally friendly has kept many veterans sweating in their apartments.

"When they are working on it I turn the fan on, but for some it is too hot," Carroll said.

"It's totally disrespect," resident Robert Kuck said. "We are veterans, you know."

Maurice Cobb said Piquette Square and the problems there saved his life. He said the 150 vets who live there need to use the teamwork they learned in the military to work together on the issues in their home.

"When you come in with the homeless mentality and buck the system, what do you get? Nothing," Cobb said.

Here is a written statement from Southwest Solutions:

"Management understands and recognizes the concerns of our veteran tenants at Piquette Square. Staff and contractors are working diligently to correct deficiencies with the cooling system, entry door and other resident concerns. The satisfaction of our residents is our primary concern and we will continue to work together with our tenants to ensure their safe, comfortable and peaceable enjoyment at Piquette Square."

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