MASON CITY, Iowa- The Mason City Police Department was on hand Wednesday afternoon making sure everyone was out of the Key West Apartments, formally known as the Regency Terrace Apartments.
A judge ruled the buildings were unsafe to live in because of mold, asbestos and lead paint back in November but not everyone has started packing their belongings.
“We don’t have the income to go to another apartment,” said Shelley Highbear, of Mason City.
Highbear and her husband are among 11 people who still called the Key West Apartments home until late Wednesday afternoon. They’ve struggled with finding a place to live.
“We were denied by the Autumn Park Apartments because they said my husband has a criminal background; we paid $20 for a background check with American Realty and they said we needed someone to co-sign our lease.” She said.
They went to the Mason City Housing Authority for HUD assistance but….
“We do have some on our waiting list,” said Cathy Burtness, the Executive Director of the Mason City Housing Authority. “Our waiting list right now is about 4-6 months.”
Cathy Burtness said about half of the tenants who lived in the apartments were receiving HUD. By last summer, though, it became clear the complex’s days were numbered.
“We kind of had to let them know early last summer to start thinking about looking for different places,” she said. “They weren’t passing our inspections. And you could tell the apartments were deteriorating.”
Burtness said if the apartments don’t pass the federal inspections they can’t give out the federal aid. For now, the Highbear’s have no place to go.
“I would like to see this stalled; they can’t make us go homeless,” she said.
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