CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – Imagine if a junkyard was set up in front of your front door? That’s what some apartment residents in Garfield Heights say they have to deal with.

Harlan Ashe, Jr., who lives in the Valley at Rockside Place Apartments off Rockside Road, told 19 News it’s not only unsanitary and unhealthy, it puts residents at risk in an emergency. Ashe is particularly vulnerable as he walks with a cane due to his MS

“God forbid, it’s an emergency, and I have to get out this way, or I have to try my luck coming back this way,” Ashe said.

A room in the building right next to Ashe’s apartment with electric meters and a boiler is now also full of junk. The Garfield Heights man says he has no idea where it came from, but he knows it also poses a health and safety risk just because someone refuses to walk a few more yards to outside the building and properly dispose of garbage. Ashe and other neighbors say it just stinks: “I know it will be spring soon. God forbid it will bring rats, rodents that might come out in hot weather. If not removed, it could get worse.

A neighbor who didn’t want to appear on camera says she’s already found two dead mice in the area and worries if what’s thrown away in this room isn’t thrown away their litter problems will only get worse .

Ashe says he’s called management multiple times about the issue and thinks it’s bullshit that all he’s received in return are broken promises.

“I called them every day. They keep saying they’re going to send someone to clean up the trash that’s been here since January,” Ashe said.

So 19 news crews went to the rental office for answers and results. First I knocked several times on the office door, but no one answered even though the office was supposed to be open for another 15 minutes. Then we called the number on the door and left a message that we were with 19 News and needed a call back; we also left a note in the rental slot.

Neighbors say they pay their rent and don’t talk nonsense; they just want management to make sure residents’ health and safety aren’t put at risk where they should feel safest – at home.

Ashe said he also raised his concerns with city leaders. “I also called the town hall and they said they would email them about the issue I had brought to their attention.”

As our team prepared to leave Valley at Rockside Place Apartments, we met John Black, who introduced himself as the maintenance supervisor. Black doesn’t appear to be aware of the issue, but said they have 400 apartments, only a few maintenance staff and are working to hire more people.

But he also promised 19 News that he would make sure the bins were cleaned out by Thursday morning.

19 News will be back to see what happens.

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