Southaven renters move into new home with church’s help after pregnant tenant falls through apartment floor

Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 10:40 PM CST
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SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (WMC) - To whom much is given, much is required.

After being evicted from their apartment last week, an apartment they said was riddled with mold and plumbing problems, Justin and Ashley Thomas now have a new house to call home. It was Southaven church members who offered a true blessing.

They were kicked to the curb, they said, for seeking legal guidance after Ashley, five months pregnant, fell through the floor of their apartment last month.

The church congregation that helped them move out is now about to help them move into a dream come true.

The army of the Lord, members of Tabernacle Church of God in Christ (COGIC), helped Justin and Ashley move out of Southaven Pointe Apartments on Wednesday. The couple said they were evicted after complaining to management about a leaky sink, mold on the walls, and a sagging floor that caved in while Ashley was standing on it.

“I’m a Type 2 diabetic,” Ashely told Action News 5, “so, with me hurting myself, it’s taken a while to heal. I’m going to chiropractors and stuff because I reinjured my back and everything.”

”We asked them time and time again to fix it beforehand,” said Justin, “and we also put in a work order, and it said ‘complete,’ and it never was completed.”

Rene Zemp, Vice President of Operations for Westminster Management, declined to talk about the Thomas’ case, telling Action News 5: 

“This is a matter with the Landlord and Tenant courts and we don’t comment on pending litigations.”

48 hours later, the Thomas’ have reason to rejoice.

“Today, they received the keys to a new home,” said Bishop Vincent Mathews of Tabernacle COGIC. “Not far from this church in Southaven, and it’s a beautiful thing.”

With financial assistance from the church and a local realtor compelled by God to help the couple, Justin, Ashley, and their daughters Nyla and Ava now have a three-bedroom, two-bath house to call home.

“What happened Wednesday, God was truly in it,” Justin said. “And when you have faith, things like this happen.”

“Since that day, it’s been tears of joy! I want to cry right now,” Ashley said. “It’s overwhelming, all the love and gratitude.”

Bishop Mathews and his congregation marched for justice on Wednesday, walking to the apartment complex to start packing up the couple’s belongings.

He and the Thomas’ said their fight for humane living standards for all is far from over.

“At the end of the day, we want justice,” said Ashley, “Not only for us, but for other people who don’t have a voice. And we’re going to get it. With God’s help, we’re going to get it.”

Bishop Mathews said he is so frustrated by the treatment the Thomas’ received at Southaven Pointe Apartments, his church is going to start offering renters rights courses to educate the community about what you’re entitled to when you lease an apartment or house.

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