January, 2016

Tenants Move Out as Eviction Deadline Arrives

Some residents of the Bryden House apartments on the Near East Side milled inside, while others crammed belongings into cars. Still others questioned why they were being forced out by Sunday, despite assurances from lawyers that they have rights.

In December, dozens of tenants — many elderly and some disabled and using federal Section 8 housing vouchers to help pay their rent — were told they needed to be out by Jan. 31. The building, at 1555 Bryden Road, has 152 units.

Attorneys with the Legal Aid Society questioned the evictions in the middle of winter but acknowledged their legality.

On Sunday afternoon, stacks of fliers offering housing options and legal advice were left inside the lobby. They were later found ripped in half and scattered.

Tom Kramer, who suffers breathing problems, had, until recently, been receiving $497 monthly in housing assistance from Columbus Area, Inc.

That stopped without explanation. So on Sunday, he was loading a truck with his belongings, including bedding and a television. The agency said it had found new housing for him.

Read more at the Columbus Dispatch.

Some Evicted from Bryden House Offered Homes

Rental property managers and others have offered homes to residents of the Bryden House apartments who were told by management that they need to be out of the building by this weekend.

Meanwhile, Ben Horne, a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society of Columbus, talked on Tuesday to a lawyer representing the apartments’ management company. Horne wants to connect tenants who need help with organizations that have offered assistance, and go through the Near East Side building apartment by apartment to find them.

In December, an unknown number of tenants — most of them elderly and some disabled and using federal Section 8 housing vouchers to help pay their rent — received notices that they needed to be out by Jan. 31. The building, at 1555 Bryden Road, has 152 units.

Horne said that the management can legally do that, but he questioned the timing — in the dead of winter — and wondered why the company didn’t give tenants more time to find housing.

Read more at the Columbus Dispatch.

Elderly Tenants Evicted from Near East Side Apartments without Explanation

The owner of the Bryden House apartmentson Columbus’ Near East Side is ending the leases of a number of elderly, low-income tenants, leaving many wondering why and struggling to find a place to live in the dead of winter.

The residents started receiving terse notices in December that they needed to be out by Jan. 31. There was no explanation.

“I was shocked,” said Gregory Pritchard, 59, who has spinal problems and has lived there five years. He fears that if he can’t find somewhere else to live by the end of the month, he’ll be forced to go to a shelter.

The short notice concerns Ben Horne, a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society of Columbus. He believes that though the move is legal, the owner didn’t allow enough time to find new housing.

He’d like management to give residents, many of whom are elderly or disabled, more time to locate an apartment.

Read more at the Columbus Dispatch.

Somali immigrants fight for improvements to North Side apartments

Cockroaches and mice scurry across the carpeted floor where Luul Botan’s three young children play.

The bathroom and kitchen faucets leak a steady stream of water. Some of the kitchen cabinets are broken. The drawers stick. And the front door doesn’t close easily, leaving the 32-year-old mother fearful that someone might break into their North Side apartment at night.

“The conditions are horrible, and the management at Capital Park apartments doesn’t care how bad it gets,” she said last week through a Somali interpreter.

Botan said she fears that her children, who are 5 years, 1 year and 4 months old, are being sickened by the insects and mouse droppings. She said she asked the manager five times to replace a missing screen in the living-room window of her second-floor apartment in the complex on Agler Road.

“I’m so afraid my daughter will fall out when she runs over to watch children playing outside. It’s so dangerous,” she said.

Read more at the Columbus Dispatch.

Summary of Voluntary Compliance Agreement

On August 11, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 13166, “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency,” requiring federally-assisted programs, such as housing authorities, to draft and implement language access plans that would assure that individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) would have meaningful access to their programs.  On January 22, 2007, HUD released its Final LEP Guidance, setting forth its expectations of what steps would be required to be in compliance with 13166.

In response to this, in the summer of 2009, the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority drafted a Language Access Plan, promising to translate all vital documents into Spanish and Somali. The Plan promised voicemail options in Spanish and Somali, and called for the Plan to be published on its website.  These steps were to be completed by October, 2009. 

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