I hardly know where to begin.
In response to a tenant complaint, at 10 a.m. Friday, city inspectors met building owner Pat Bragg at the Edgebrook Manor Apartments and within hours they had decided to condemn the property, requiring everyone living there to leave their homes within 24 hours.
A few years ago, a friend of mine who lived on Roosevelt Street complained to a City of DeKalb code inspector that her landlord had refused to properly clean up flood damage to her apartment. The landlord immediately terminated the month-to-month lease. My friend struggled to find a new place even though she had 30 days’ notice and, in fact, she had to couch surf for a month or two. It was horribly disruptive to her life.
So I don’t get that nobody bats an eyeball when City of DeKalb boots people out with 24 hours’ notice and no solid alternatives.
Residents and city officials both talked of toilets that did not flush or overflowed, and city officials said the smell in the hallways probably resulted from people relieving themselves. Also, the building lacked fire doors and had a roof leak causing water damage, and there were piles of debris both inside and outside the building, they said.
Given all that, it’s hard to see what choice inspectors had.
And what about tenants’ rights? The tenants of Edgebrook Manor must already be people on the edge, with few feasible choices. They are also grownups and their choice clearly was to live at Edgebrook rather than on someone’s couch or on the streets. City of DeKalb took away that right without due process.
However, more consideration could have been shown for the people who were ordered out of their homes on the weekend before classes were to begin at Northern Illinois University.
Pretty much the only consideration shown was for the pampered people whose eyes and noses were offended.
There was so little consideration, in fact, that the city cannot be bothered to even put a number on the number of innocent people whose lives they have now disrupted, or possibly ruined, for lord knows how long.
Bottom line: Whatever ordinance gives City of DeKalb the power to create instant homelessness without responsibility, it’s a bad one. This is going to cost us in so many ways, starting with our souls.
Related: An Email Conversation with Mayor Rey about Hope Haven and the Travel Inn Closure.