Residents evicted two weeks before Christmas

December 13, 2010 3:15:02 PM PST
It's devastating news for residents. It's just two weeks before Christmas and they now have 10 days to move out of the Skylane West Apartments off the Katy Freeway. But there are a lot of unanswered questions about why they're being forced to move. Lots of residents there just paid rent last Monday, then got notices to move out Thursday. Their money isn't being refunded and now they're trying to figure out where to go.

Amanda Ortega earns around $300 a week working at Taco Cabana. She doesn't own a car, so she rides a bike. Still she doesn't complain.

"I use both of them because one of them breaks down and then I have to try to fix it and make it work," said Ortega.

Ortega pays $160 a week - nearly two-thirds of her income - to live in a two bedroom apartment with her four kids.

"I work hard for them every day," Ortega said.

When she got home from work Thursday, a notice was taped to her door and her neighbors. Everyone is being evicted. They have 10 days to move out and many with nowhere else to go.

Frederick Herridge and his wife already started packing.

"We're trying to call around, find a place that will take us with animals," said Herridge. "It's not that easy to just get up and go."

Residents suspect the complex will be torn down. But no one knows for sure. And the management office was closed the entire time we were there.

"My opinion, they want to tear it down because they don't want to put any money into it," Herridge said.

What's clear is maintenance has fallen by the wayside in recent months. No A/C forces them to run fans when it's warm, and no heat makes it tough when it's cold.

"We just try to put more layers of clothing on, try to stay warm. That's all we could do," said Herridge.

Ortega is left hoping for a Christmas miracle. Her daughters' decorated trees are unfinished. She wants to keep them in the spirit, but knows without help the lights will have to come down soon.

"I'm gonna try to get into another apartment. All I can do is try and pray to God he makes a way for me," she said.

We found the new owners, MMK&;ampS listed as Houston Patio and Garden Center. No one at their corporate office was available for comment.

We've reached out to the head of housing at the city level and have yet to receive a response.


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