Bedbug infestations are an ongoing problem in the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority high-rise apartments.

Bedbugs can live up to 18 months without food and can spread quickly and easily, housing consultant Jennifer Brown told members of the authority Wednesday. The pests can also infest sofas, chair cushions and even walls.

Authority members approved an amended policy requiring all residents to have bedbug encasements — sealed bags — on their mattresses and box springs. Residents will have the choice of purchasing encasements from the NWGHA in accordance with their maintenance charge list or buying them elsewhere.

While discussing the new policy, authority members expressed concern over residents following through or getting the correct encasements.

Brown said the best type of encasement would be made of nonporous cloth and also have an interlocking zipper to prevent any bedbugs from getting in.

Plastic encasements don’t work as efficiently because of tearing. Brown said that any type of tear, even a micro-tear, would allow the bedbugs to get out and infest the building.

Authority members and the board’s attorney Stewart Duggan decided to amend the policy so that it states the encasement should be “nonporous and suitable for bedbug treatment and eradication.”

Later in the meeting, Greg Shropshire talked about the efforts they’re making in encouraging adult education. Shropshire works as the coordinator for adult education, the EnVision Center and ConnectHomeUSA.

Shropshire and the adult education division recently launched a campaign called “GEProud” aimed at changing the image of earning a General Educational Development diploma.

“The goal is to bring in someone new every month who is a recipient of a GED and has gone on to do great things and be an inspiration to our students,” he said.

One of these people is Charlene Graham, who serves as the assistant admissions director at Georgia Highlands College and holds both a GED and a master’s degree. She recently visited the class and talked about her own experiences as a GED holder.

“They had a lot of questions for her and it went very well,” Shropshire said.

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