Homeless for the holidays?

Published 12:41 am Saturday, November 16, 2013

The doors were locked Friday and the telephone  disconnected at the Andalusia Villas office.

The doors were locked Friday and the telephonedisconnected at the Andalusia Villas office.

Abandoned – that’s how the tenants at Andalusia Villas feel after the property owner has “walked away,” leaving them “to fend for ourselves,” one tenant said Friday.

Since July, there has been no garbage pick up and maintenance requests have gone unanswered – as have questions about the Moore Road apartment complex’s future.

Jessica Gilliland and her family have lived in the complex for the last 11 years. Now, she and her husband are actively looking for a new home.

“The tenants over here have been abandoned,” she said. “The trash pick up hasn’t been paid for the last four months and there is no one to pay my rent to. I was also told that the apartment complex is currently in foreclosure and that (it) should be fully closed by the middle of December.

“How’s that for Christmas?” she said. “My husband’s a truck driver and we live paycheck-to-paycheck. I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

Another tenant at the complex said he was unsure what was happening.

“I just don’t know,” he said. “We haven’t been told anything, especially not that we have to be out by December.”

Of the 27 apartments on site, 13 are occupied. The Rural Development-backed complex offers housing options for low-income individuals and families. As part of that program, some tenants qualify for utility payment assistance for help with electric bills. That funding has not be paid since July either, tenants said.

Numbers posted for the Villa’s office and its parent company, PTL Community Development of Mobile, were disconnected as of Friday.

Tenants were told this week that another property management company with local ties, Stuckey Management of Macon, Ga., has stepped in to fill the gap until the property is sold on the auction block.

On Thursday, that company managed to get the garbage picked up and started basic maintenance repairs; however, it is unknown how long it will continue.

No additional information could be gathered by online sources or through property records at the Covington County Courthouse.