Displaced Mishawaka tenants struggle finding affordable housing - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Displaced Mishawaka tenants struggle finding affordable housing


Residents evicted from the Princess Apartments in Mishawaka last week are hoping a Knight in shining armor saves them soon.

The building was condemned and tenants had to get out fast, but now they are struggling to find housing they can afford.

27 people who used lived in the Princess Apartments are staying in the Mishawaka Motel 6, with no idea of where they'll live tomorrow. Since tenants were forced to move out of their homes Mar. 14, only a few have found permanent housing.

For Princess Apartments resident Richard Stout and his wife know they are two of the lucky ones. After being forced to move out of the building when it was condemned They were able to find a new apartment only a few blocks away. Stout says that is only because of an understanding landlord.  

"We were really fortunate to find a place like [our new apartment] and a landlord that was willing to work with us as far as not having money for a couple weeks," said Stout, while moving into his new building.

Stout knows his other neighbors are struggling though, because unlike him, many of them cannot find similar one bedroom apartments that fit their needs.

"If we had more room I know there's still families that haven't found a place as fast as we did," said Stout. "If this place was bigger we would let more people move in with us till they found something."

Some are struggling to find housing that's handicap accessible and others need units that are big enough to fit their families. The main problem though is money, which many of them do not have to spare.

Social Worker Sheryl Gerald is trying to help the tenants find something. According to her many of them are broke because they just paid rent at the Princess Apartments a few weeks ago. She says that ate up many of their budgets.

"It's not just paying a monthly rent now, it's like I said paying a deposit, it's paying an application fee," said Gerald. "It costs a lot of money to move and then it costs a lot of money to move when everything you had is gone."

Those "red tape" issues have left many of the residents stranded in the Mishawaka Motel 6. The Penn Township Trustee's Office is footing the bill for now. Originally the office had agreed to until Wednesday, but has since extended the offer. They could not be reached for comment regarding the extended timeframe.

Meanwhile, many of the former tenants are doing everything they can to help Gerald in her apartment search for them.

"A lot of us are running around like chickens with our heads cut off at this point," said former Princess Apartments resident Michael Carlo. "I don't know what the future holds."

While they do not know where they will live next, they are all hoping it will be better than the Princess Apartments, a building most tenants refer to as "disgusting".

The Stouts say the grass is greener on the other side.

"[Our new apartment] is paradise compared to what we were living in," said Stout. "You can tell that the landlord cares about his property."

Donations for clothing are still being accepted at the Penn Township Trustee's office in Mishawaka. Many of the tenants had to leave their clothing behind because it was ruined by mold and bugs.

Monetary donations that will help pay for apartment application fees and down payments are also being accepted at all Notre Dame Federal Credit Union branches. Donations can be made to the Princess Apartment tenants account.

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