New manager takes over Brightway Commons

Terry RogersBusiness, Headlines, Milford Headline Story

Brightway Commons new property manager hopes to clean up the complex

At a recent council meeting, Marcella Russell introduced herself as the new property manager for Brightway Commons and asked the city for assistance in cleaning up the complex. Her goal is to eliminate criminal activity with the help of the police while also dealing with homeless who are living in the hallways.

“We simply need assistance from the city,” Russell said. “When we call the numbers that are supposed to be active for homelessness assistance, there is nothing available or we are told to call social services. The problem is many of them don’t have transportation so they can’t get to social services. We are also being told to just go ahead and have them arrested and then they will get help, but they aren’t. All they are being told is to not come on the property anymore, yet they ultimately do which means we need a better plan.”

Russell has been in the position for a few months and has seen a reduction in problems. In her eyes, complexes like Brightway Commons should be viewed as aftercare because many of the tenants are trying to rise above difficult circumstances. She focuses on helping tenants take pride in where they live.

“We want to create a better Brightway Commons and we have reduced crime, moving the drug addicts and people pushing drugs out,” Russell said. “I evicted five people in less than three weeks of being there in order to take better control of the property, but I need the city’s help to do this because this is your community, too. I call my tenants my children because I treat them as if they were my children.”

It is Russell’s goal to have everyone in the complex live in a safe environment. She wants those living there to know that affordable housing can also be beautiful housing.

“I am taking back Brightway Commons on behalf of the city. I’m taking Brightway Commons back on behalf of my tenants,” Russell said. “This is my final journey of being a community and property manager, but I need the city to be more involved. I am working with the city to rectify repairs. We just met with Section 8 and we are at 95 percent compliance.”

According to Sergeant Timothy Maloney of the Milford Police Department, they are working with the complex to try to address issues.

“We are actively working with the new property manager at Brightway Commons to help address issues occurring in the complex,” Sgt. Maloney said. “The ways in which we are collaborating with them is through regular meetings and increased patrols in the complex through regular and extra duty assignments.”

Brightway Commons was built in the 1970s and known as Banneker Heights, one of the first affordable housing units in the city. Volunteers of America took over the complex in the early 2000s and changed the name of the apartments. They also added units, bringing the total number available to 80. Over the years, residents have complained of maintenance issues, mold and other problems at the complex, some of which Russell is trying to address.

Share this Post