Residents get temporary housing after Dearborn apartments shut down

The three buildings at the Oakman Apartments in Dearborn have so many code violations, the city ruled all three properties unsafe for people to live in. The landlord claims he doesn't have the money to make the repairs. Therefore the city is putting residents in a motel until the middle of January. Right now those residents are stuck in a bind on what to do next.

"This just makes you angry of course. You don't know where you're going. You have no place you know," said Rahem La-Qaragholy, who was forced to move out.

We saw more residents at the Oakman Apartments packing their belongings during Friday's deadline.

"I just picked up my clothes. I can't pick up everything," said La-Qaragholy.

When the city learned of code violations including fire safety, heating, electrical, and plumbing issues, the Mayor's office made a tough call to mandate that all of the tenants leave right away, some very emotional.

This is low income housing, and residents have very few options.

“At least she needs a place to live. She doesn't speak English. She doesn't drive. She's SSI," said Kokab Alshawualy, whose mother was forced to move out of her apartment.

The tenants received short notice, and many of them are staying at Victory Inn a few miles away from the apartments on Michigan Avenue.

The landlord is footing the bill with the assistance of the city.

Dearborn's Mayor tells us he is keeping a close eye on the situation and the landlord.

"They seem to be interested in doing the right thing, and so we're not going to challenge that until there is evidence they're not," said John B. O’Reilly, Dearborn’s Mayor.

The temporary housing at the motel will expire on January 16th.

The Mayor says if certain repairs can be made early in the New Year, there is a chance tenants could move back in.

"What I'm saying is they get rid of the things that are most egregious and then we can do what we call temporary certificate of housing.  You can come back because it's not unsafe. It still needs more improvement and more things. We've done that before and it's been successful," said O’Reilly.

Worst case scenario, the city would have to take the landlord to court, remove his right to operate, and possibly demolish the properties, so there will be accountability.

At the same time, the tenants remain between a rock and a hard place.

“Nobody knows what is going on. Nobody," said La-Qaragholy.

The Mayor says public housing could be available for tenants who qualify if they can't move back in or find another place to live.

We put in a call to the attorney representing the landlord, but have not heard back.


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