The city is taking steps to declare a former public housing complex a nuisance and have its owners, the Mobile Housing Board, pay to fix it or have it demolished.
Deputy Director of Municipal Enforcement David Daughenhaugh announced the city was taking those steps for the old Josephine Allen Homes, after resident Gary Miller complained to Mobile City Council members Tuesday about the impact the complex’s “deplorable” condition was having on neighboring residents.
“This surrounds a community where people live and own property,” Miller said. “Residents need some relief. I want to know what the city can do to get MHB or the (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) to do something about Josephine Allen.”
Miller, who has brought the same issue up with MHB in the past, told councilors that apartments in the former public housing facility are missing rooves and other structural deficiencies. The complex has become a de facto shelter for the homeless, he said.
The Mobile Housing Board just recently gave up on trying to sell the long-abandoned property and now has a request pending with HUD to tear it down.
Daughenbaugh told councilors that the city would be coming forward with a nuisance abatement request in the next few months that could force MHB to pay for the securing, or demolition of the structures. He said Senior Director of Development Jamey Roberts has a plan that could help the board replace and redevelop the complex.
Councilman C.J. Small said he understands Miller’s complaints, as he’s tried to work on similar issues for residents in Thomas James Place. However, Small also said councilors have little power to make changes impacting MHB or its properties.
“If there’s something I could have done years ago in Birdsville, I would’ve,” Small said. “Our hands are tied.”
However, if Daughenbaugh does bring a nuisance abatement request forward in the near future, councilors will get to vote on it.
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