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From the Mayor's News Releases
After an intensive effort that involved the mayor’s office and staff from nine City departments, 199 tenants who had been the victims of a slumlord who had ceased paying for utilities and refused to tend to other deplorable living conditions have been escapeing. For the last two years, the city has pursued various legal avenues against the owners of the Crestmont Village Apartments at 5638 Selinsky Road in southeast Houston. City records show more than 200 calls for service here.
When the conditions degraded to the point of being a public safety concern, the City intervened to get the lights back on, cleaned up the raw sewage and began working to relocate the residents. Now that the tenants have all been moved out, the utilities are being shut off and the units are all boarded up to keep out vandals.
The massive project was accomplished in little more than a month with the help of Houston Police Department, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Health Department, the Legal Department, the Department of Neighborhoods, Public Works, the Solid Waste Department, BARC, the Finance Department and mayor’s office staff.
Council Member Dwight Boykins’ office, State Senator Rodney Ellis, Bethel Institutional Missionary Baptist Church, A-Rocket Moving and Storage, Uber Transportation, GB Plumbing, Allied Burglar Bars, the American Red Cross and neighborhood activist Sandra Massie Hines also stepped up to help with the massive undertaking. Overseeing all of it was Gerald Womack, the court-appointed receiver for the property.
“No one should have to live like this,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “We know this is not the only deplorable apartment complex which has eroded due to irresponsible ownership. We are determined to make sure that all of our associated costs are reimbursed by the owners. The City’s response here provides a blueprint to apply to other apartment complexes which are doing a disservice to their tenants, and gives us a plan to head off a crisis before it exists.”
The project was complicated by the fact that many of the residents are on limited income, lack identification, have criminal backgrounds, bad credit or previous evictions.