Blue Island residents forced out of homes

March 28, 2009 3:48:50 PM PDT
Residents of an apartment building in south suburban Blue Island want answers this weekend. They've been told to pack up and leave by April 6. "We need to know what our rights are," one tenant said Saturday.

Angela Kirby and her fellow tenants say they will not be moved, although they've been told their homes are not fit to live in.

"There are 16 families in this building, and they want us out on the streets," Kirby said.

The residents say it was Friday when building inspectors from the city of Blue Island they previously complained to showed up and informed them that, because of several building code violations, their apartment building had been deemed uninhabitable.

"We want to the owner of the property and said you need to do this immediately...or we'll have it done and fine you for it," Blue Island Mayor Donald Peloquin said to ABC7 Chicago via telephone.

Shortly after that, some tenants say they received a letter from the landlord telling them to gather their belonging and go that day, but without the return of their security deposits or help in arranging alternative housing.

"Chuck the manager said we cannot get our security. So, I got $400 in security. How are we supposed to move without security? I have no problem with moving, but they need to give us our money back," said tenant Freddie Funches.

The property manager first agreed to talk with ABC7 Chicago on camera, then changed his mind simply saying, "I inherited disaster."

He added that he cannot return tenants security deposits because of the actions of the former building manager, whom he accuses him of not keeping proper records and letting a year deadline to make the necessary repairs expire.

ABC7 Chicago's attempts to reach the previous building manager were unsuccessful.

"The owner of the building, why can't they get a hold of the old manager. He just took the money and ran away with it. That just doesn't even sound right," said Rachael Guth, a tenant.