Slidell residents forced out of home ask Mayor for help

Slidell residents forced out of home ask Mayor for help

SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - Residents of a Slidell apartment complex are still trying to find a safe place to stay after they were forced out last week.

The complex, near the corner of Pontchartrain and Westchester, was deemed unsafe when the fire department found water leaking into electrical boxes.

"I really really want to go into my own home," Latoya Thornton said. "My kids don't understand. My kids went to school today with the same clothes they had on yesterday - they have no idea. They keep asking me, 'mommy, when are we going to go home?' They have no idea, I want to go into my own home." 

Thornton and several other residents crowded City Hall on Monday morning asking for help.

"Anytime we have to displace families, especially in a situation like this, I'm very concerned, it's not a good situation in any fashion shape or form," Mayor Freddy Drennan said.

Drennan and his team worked Monday to try and find the residents some relief, but even the normal standby, The Red Cross, couldn't step in to help.

"This is not a natural disaster like a hurricane or a storm, that displaces a bunch of people, this is a situation where proper maintenance and upkeep was not kept with the building and usually in those cases the owner of the building tries to step up and do something," Drennan said.

The owner of the apartment complex told FOX 8 News that he was already reimbursing residents a portion of their rent and their security deposits, but residents said they were forced to sign liability waivers before they were given checks.

"They were trying to give me 500 dollars and to sign a paper that I wouldn't discuss it, I didn't do that, because I can't do nothing with 500 dollars, I paid them 1200 dollars, also I lost everything downstairs, it flooded, I lost my kids clothes, my kids toys, 500 dollars doesn't do anything," Shante Wise said.

Wise isn't alone, Monique Jackson paid a year's worth of rent, but was told she couldn't get her money back unless she signed the agreement.

"I was scared and I was shocked, that's why I was thinking he was gonna give me my money back, and he told me pretty much I had to sign a waiver of release to get my security deposit and my prorated rent," Jackson said.

The owner claims the agreement was in place only for people who were offered more than they were owed and anyone who wanted the exact amount they are owed back can get that check without having to sign an agreement.

He intends to fix the problems at the complex and reopen the doors.

The Slidell City Council has an emergency meeting planned this Wednesday to discuss the issues at the complex and how to help the people who have nowhere to live.

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