Tenants struggling after apartment complex condemned - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Tenants struggling after apartment complex condemned


Residents who were displaced from the Princess Apartments in Mishawaka Thursday say they are having trouble figuring out how to get back on their feet after their building was condemned.

Several people who lived in the apartments say since they were evicted for health and safety reasons they have been having trouble reaching their former landlord Randy Miller. However, Miller was willing to talk with FOX28 over the phone about what happened.

According to Miller, he was deeply saddened to see his tenants without a home to call their own and having to go through all this. He says he was told by Mishawaka Code Enforcement, the major problem was a large crack that was leaking water underneath the floors and threatening the foundation.

He also said he was in the process of fixing the mold and bug issues that some tenants were complaining about, but before those projects were completed the building was condemned.

Many of the people who lived in the complex say they do not need his sympathy and they are frustrated he let it get to the condition it was in.

"It's been like a carnival ride," said former Princess Apartment tenant Dawn Gragg, when asked about the stress she is under. "You're on it, you're whipped around, and then you're done on the ground."

Many of the people who lived in the Princess Apartments were not able to sleep Thursday as they frantically packed up everything they owned overnight.

"Me, emotionally I'm drained," said Michael Carlo, another former resident. "I'm so ready to hit the pillow its ridiculous."

On top of having to move out in a matter of hours, several of the tenants had no place to go, and only have a few days to figure out where they will live next. The American Red Cross and Penn Township Trustee are providing them with motel rooms until Wednesday to buy the displaced residents some extra time.

"I felt like it'd be good to give them a couple extra days that they had to work with and not have to scramble over one weekend," said Janet Whitfield-Hyduk, Penn Township Trustee.

While the tenants are very thankful to have a warm bed and a place to stay for the next few days, many people who lived in the condemned building say right now they are feeling homeless.

"You're not going to feel at home until you have a regular place to stay again and be able to have your actual belongings and feel like home," said Eric Osborn, a disabled man who lived in the building.

Housing is not the only thing that some of these people will need though. The mold and bugs in some apartments ruined tenants belongings to the point that everything from clothes, to food, to furniture had to be thrown out.

"Any possible thing that you can think of, that you take for granted everyday, a blanket, a night gown, a packing box, these people need it," said Sheryl Gerale, a social worker helping the families.

While some of the people who lived in the building say they will be fine, they are hoping for help for their neighbors who are struggling to get back on their feet.

"I know there's somebody out there that's going to reach out a hand. If not for me do it for one of them that's in a wheel chair," said Carlo, as he began to cry. "Do it for the ones that have children that have nothing."

Anyone who is looking to donate food, furniture, or clothing can do so by reaching out to the Penn Township Trustee.  Monetary donations will also be accepted starting Saturday at the Notre Dame Federal Credit Union starting tomorrow.

Miller said he plans to do what he can to assist his tenants, but at this point is still trying to figure out what help he can provide.

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