US News Center
[Los Angeles, CA] – Chaos reigned at the Cathay Manor Senior Apartments in Chinatown on Thursday morning, June 30, 2022, as a crowd of over 100 seniors got the news that the building was accepting applications for renters and showed up at the front door. The staff of Cathay Manor had not been told by the management company, Barker Management, that an advertisement had been placed in the LA Times soliciting applicants. Therefore, they were unprepared.
Temperatures climbed into the 90s as seniors waited in line in the building’s courtyard. Chester Chong, Chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles, who was present, had to warn the staff that the seniors might suffer heat stroke. Unprepared staff members were seen shouting at residents, and finally the application process was halted for the day and postponed to July 15, 2022, leaving applicants frustrated at having wasted time standing in the heat.
Cathay Manor has faced ongoing management problems for years. In 2021, residents were without elevators and a laundry room for months, and LA city inspectors found 336 health and safety violations. Barker Management was hired to provide professional management and fix the numerous violations. However, residents have complained of lack of management skill, rude treatment from staff and cultural insensitivity to take care of the needs of Chinese and other Asian senior citizens living at Cathay Manor. For example, Barker Management wanted to spray pesticides during lunar new year, the most important holiday for the Chinese, Vietnamese and other Asian residents. For a long time after they took over the management, they did not have any Chinese speaking staff working after hours. Twice for meetings with the senior residents at Cathay Manor, Barker Management did not have a Cantonese translator, and had to rely on a community advocate for the job.
Despite a long waiting list (seniors report applying more than five years ago), Cathay Manor has over 40 apartment units that are vacant. The community has complained to US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other government officials of the huge number of vacancies for a long time. This discrepancy is another example of mismanagement, incompetence, or malfeasance. The large crowd that showed up today shows the pent-up demand for affordable housing in Chinatown. CCED feels that the seniors who have been waiting for years should have the priority of moving into Cathay Manor.
We understand that Barker Management did not place advertisements in any of the Chinese newspapers. A CCED volunteer looked at the print version of 2 popular Chinese newspapers for Wednesday and Thursday, and did not see any advertisement on Cathay Manor. “If we found is true, this is discrimination,” according to Chinatown Community for Equitable Development (CCED). “This action by Barker Management clearly showed they did not want any more Chinese or other Asian senior residents to live at Cathay Manor. Does Barker Management want a Chinatown without Chinese?”