Tenants move back into condemned apartment complex - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Tenants move back into condemned apartment complex

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Some of the families who moved out from the dilapidated Avery Park Place Apartments in the Orange Mound neighborhood of Memphis have returned to live in the now condemned and waterless complex.

It's a fact government can enact laws which effect the human condition. But, no government or law can legislate the minds of men and women when it comes to making decisions about what they see as the best option available to live their lives.

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Terri Brown returned to the now condemned apartments, but thankfully, she came only to pick up her mail.

"I spent everything I had and moved," said Brown, a former resident. "I can't worry about that. I got somewhere that I can pay the rent. But, I just had to buckle down."

But, while Brown's triumph over adversity is compelling, just as bewildering was to discover on Friday at least four of the families city officials thought they had helped in late December to get out of the blighted complex by temporarily housing them for a week in a motel paid for by the city, were forced to return to the squalor they thought they'd left behind.

The expected happy ending continues to be a never ending story of bitter and frustrated people trapped in the maze of urban poverty in Memphis. One tenant, who didn't want to be identified, would only talk to FOX13 News through a crack in the door.

"I thought before we left the hotel that they would tell us where we needed to go and what we needed to do."

The displaced did receive instructions to contact MIFA to help them find housing. However finding housing is not the same as being able to pay for it.

"The rent was $600," said LaToya Armour.

"Would have had to pay a fee? Deposit and all that?"

"In addition to the $600 dollars per month, uh, huh," Armour added. "I don't have the deposit. I don't have an extra month's rent. I can pay what I was going to pay here this month. Other than that, I don't have anything else."

Despite being condemned by code enforcement, six apartments still have utilities, but remain without water which was cut-off by MLGW weeks ago due to a delinquent $1,700 bill owed by the tax defaulted owner of the property. FOX13 News contacted Councilwoman Wanda Halbert, who immediately informed code enforcement of the circumstances.

Within 30 minutes, three code enforcement officers were combing the premises and talking to the returned families.
 
"I got to make a call to find out exactly what happened ... cause I'm hearing some conflicting stories."

After consultations and phone calls to city officials it was decided, that for now, the returned tenants could stay inside their apartments - temporarily.

"You're going to stay in this place til I find something, til you find something and you're out there everyday looking to try to find something."

But, for Brown a dark chapter in her life is now over.

"I can't speak for everyone else, but they offered me the help I needed to get me started," Brown said. "I just finished it on my own."

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