CHICAGO — The 17-story Albany Terrace apartments have been part of the South Lawndale community for nearly 50 years and the seniors who live in the public housing building are sounding the alarm about what they call deplorable living conditions inside.

“I went down to the mailbox and it was so much water coming from the ceiling, it pushed me back into the elevator,” Ms. McGee said. “The water was from the floor to my ankles.”

After the pipes burst over Christmas, residents said the heat went out for several days.

And those weren’t the only problems they say plague the 350-unit building.

“They deserve to not have to deal with the onset of bed bugs, rodents, washers and dryers not working, elevators that aren’t working,” Vetress Boyce said.

The seniors and their advocates came together Wednesday as a first step toward forming a committee they hope would improve living conditions for Chicago Housing Authority residents.

“Just like the police have COPA, we want to do something similar to that,” Ifeanyi Odum with the Union to End Slums said.

The CHA said it takes the residents’ concerns seriously and that’s why they had representative at the meeting.

The Albany Terrace building just began a $100 million renovation

“The building is being extensively rehabilitated with upgrades to resident units, common spaces and amenities, improved heating, central air conditioning, new electrical, plumbing replacement, and a new, additional elevator to better serve residents’ needs,” a statement from CHA read.

The work is expected to be completed in summer 2024.

“They should close the building down, relocate us and then when the building is remodeled, let us come back,” Bettie Love said.

Some residents are worried about breathing in dust for the next year and a half.

“We have people who are in their 90s there that are sick,” Love said.

And they’re hoping to work together to find solutions soon.

“These seniors have more life behind them than they do ahead of them and they deserve a quality life,” Boyce said.