HOUSTON – Community activists gathered on Houston’s southside Monday morning demanding answers after a highly populated apartment complex did not renew its lease, putting hundreds of residents in jeopardy of losing their place to live.
Details in a news release from the office of Candice Matthews stated that the “Houston Housing Authority suspiciously did not renew Southlawn Palms Apartments contract.”
The apartment complex is located at 7006 Scott Street and is primarily occupied by residents in the Black and brown community.
According to the release, inspectors with the Houston Housing Authority went to the complex on Oct. 17, 2022, to conduct the Annual Contract Renewal Inspection.
Matthews stated that the public was not originally given the inspection report; however, they obtained a copy provided by a former HHA employee.
The report allegedly stated that the complex passed the inspection.
Months later in November, Matthews says a second inspection occurred, which she called “illegal.”
“Technically, you’re only supposed to give one inspection in a year. That inspection [the first one] was done in October,” Matthews said.
A third-party inspector was called to the scene on three separate occasions in January.
“The HHA did a third-party inspection in that month of January. So, if there was a third-party inspection, why was the HHA inspector by the name of Cheryl Rivers, why was she on this property?” Matthews said. “I heard her with my own ears telling the other third-party inspector to fail as many units as you can.”
According to organizers, more than 150 families may possibly be displaced if the plan to close the complex comes to pass.
“You cannot do this, Housing Authority! How would you do this? How do you sleep at night putting these babies out?” one activist stated. “You’re the devil! I said it! How are you going to put 150 people out with nowhere to go?!”