Slidell residents forced to sleep in cars after apartments condemned

Slidell residents forced to sleep in cars after apartments condemned

SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - The day after the City of Slidell condemns an apartment building, some residents say they've been abandoned, with no place to go, forcing them to take drastic measures.

Caroline McCree spent Friday night, not in the comfort of her bed, but in her car. “We stayed in the car till daylight this morning,” McCree said.

The 81-year-old McCree and about a dozen other residents were forced out of the West Chester apartments after they were deemed unlivable. With water leaks common and ceilings caved in in some units, residents say the building's been a mess for years. Friday, the City of Slidell condemned it.

"This is a deplorable situation," said Julie Andrews, president of the East St. Tammany NAACP.

Andrews showed up Saturday to help, saying, "The tenants here signed a lease, they pay their rent. That lease is binding. The responsibility for the landlord here and the responsibility of the Housing Authority for the people that are on subsidized housing, they need to step up to the plate and do the right thing."

Latoya Thornton receives housing assistance from HUD. But when she called Friday to ask for help, she says she was told the office was closed until Monday, and nothing could be done to help her, until Monday.

Thornton took her kids to her sister's Friday night while she tries to figure out where the family will live next. But she says her heart breaks for her neighbors, like McCree. Between tears, Thornton says, "I feel like I should have made sure that like especially they were ok, if nobody, the elderly."

In the meantime, Andrews is reaching out to her contacts. She explained, "I have called attorneys and other organizations who work on similar problems."

She hopes to find a solution, and make sure everyone who lived at the complex, has a roof over their head, immediately.

FOX 8 reached out to the managers of the apartment complex, but we weren't able to get any answers. Residents hope the City of Slidell will send a representative to the complex this weekend, to help them figure out where to go next.

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