Memphis apartment tenants relocated after HUD pulls contract

Memphis apartment tenants relocated after HUD pulls contract
Published: Feb. 5, 2016 at 9:29 PM CST|Updated: May. 18, 2017 at 12:28 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The residents at Tulane I, Tulane II, and Warren apartments will be relocating after a decision from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said time had run out for the owners of the building to make the housing suitable. Now, the owners will have to find the residents new housing and move them out of the apartments.

"I'm so happy. I'm so glad. I feel more relief," resident Darlene Williford said.

Williford, like other residents at the Warren and Tulane apartments, is relieved the federal government has ordered Global Ministries to find other housing for people who live in the two troubled apartment complexes.

"It's like a health hazard; like having no place to stay," resident Diane Onry said. "It's like living outside. It's horrible. I have children and they can't come outside and play and ride their bikes."

Warren and Tulane apartments are owned by Global Ministries Foundation (GMF), and they are required to maintain the units in a decent, safe, and sanitary manner.

However, HUD said that has not happened.

On February 3, GMF officials received notice from HUD the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract for the apartments were being canceled. In other words, the government pulled the contracts because time had run out for officials at the apartment complex to correct the violations at the apartments.

The complexes are not only unsafe, but have been plagued with crime.

On Friday, Congressman Steve Cohen welcomed and praised the decision of HUD to pull the contract.

"I have been very disturbed by the substandard conditions many Memphians have been living in at Warren and Tulane Apartments, and I am pleased HUD is taking a firm stance on this," Cohen said. "HUD needs to now find safe, clean and affordable housing for these residents."

Cohen wrote the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro in April 2015 regarding the living conditions at the apartment and requested actions to be taken.

On May 21, 2015, GMF officials were told they were in default of the contract agreements and obligations due to some violations for decent, safe, and sanitary standards. They were given 60 days from the date of notice to correct the violations.

Continued violations and failed inspections led to the eventual cancellation of the contract.

Violations documented by HUD included unsafe conditions for residents connected with locks and exterior conditions, incomplete repair and renovation work to vacant units, plans of the owner to repair and renovate units were incomplete and offered no details or specifications, as well as multiple other violations. You can view the complete letter sent to GMF from HUD here.

GMF sent a statement that reads:

"Global Ministries Foundation (GMF) is a faith-based organization that implements mission-driven affordable housing initiatives, along with pastor training, building churches, and mission work around the world, to provide others with help spiritually, physically and emotionally across the globe.

GMF's affordable housing initiative is one that seeks to provide shelter to low and moderate-income residents around the United States. Its mission is to provide each housing community with a safe and clean environment, along with a variety of services, such as medical and dental exams, education classes, meal programs, Bible study classes, workforce preparation and after school tutoring at no cost to the residents.

In recent months, Global Ministries has been in the process of repairing, renovating and reconstructing units at Memphis complexes, Warren and Tulane Apartments. GMF has worked diligently alongside several contractors, code enforcement and Environmental Court, and spent over $300,000 in the last few months making these repairs.GMF has been working closely with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the past several months, and met with them this week.

Unfortunately, HUD officials made the decision to relocate the residents of Warren and Tulane Apartments.During the month of February, each residential family will be receiving a voucher to move to another subsidy housing complex that best suites their needs. Global Ministries will continue its mission by providing services and outreach to residents and others throughout the community.

Despite the relocation of residents, GMF will seek opportunities to find a new owner of Warren and Tulane Apartments to perform rehabilitation of the properties. Hamlet states 'It is our hope to find partners to restore these communities by providing these areas and families with exceptional housing to meet their needs."

For residents like Marksha Hill, news of the organization working with HUD to relocate residents is welcomed.

"That's good. I really need it. It's good. I have two little kids. I don't like them living in this environment," Hill said.

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