Detroit apartment gives residents 8 days to get out before closing

Residents at a Detroit Apartment complex were recently told it is time to go 

"It's devastating," said one resident.

The notification was sent out May 23 by Rehoboth Plaza management informing tenants that they have eight days to pack up and get out.

"We still have some packing to do," said Patricia Headen. "I got all my furniture and I threw it all away.

"It's sad, you don't know where you're going."

So who owns this apartment complex? Residents say it is connected to New Bethel Baptist Church, which was founded by the father of Aretha Franklin, C.L.  Franklin.

Pastor Robert Smith, Jr. who is the current leader of New Bethel Baptist Church, said he is the owner of Rehoboth LLC, the company that owns the apartment building. 

He said the reason behind the closing is a nearly $74,000 DTE Energy Bill and the payment arrangement is impossible to pay.

"Usually we could get a new arrangement, but the arrangement is $14,000 down and $5,000 every month. We're not taking in $5,000 a month so the best thing is, to inform people we're closing."

As residents work to pack up, Pastor Smith says they will work with residents who can't move out by Friday's deadline.

"We're going to give them as much time as (they) need to try to move out," he said. "That doesn't mean we will keep the gas on - that is not in our hands."

But was this closing the only option?

"I've got three people trying to see what they can do," Smith said.

He says he is looking for an investor to co-op the building so low income residents can be empowered through home ownership.

Pastor Smith says he will also accept any financial assistance from the estate of the late Aretha Franklin to help keep these doors open to the people who called it home.