Houma residents scramble for housing after apartment buildings have been declared uninhabitable | Hurricane center

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Rayne Pierre and her 21-year-old daughter had just renewed their lease at Cameron Isles Apartments in Houma – where they had lived since 2016 – when Hurricane Ida hit two weeks ago.

They evacuated to Lafayette when the storm hit, but before they could return home, Pierre received an email from his apartment complex stating that her lease was on hold and that she had until September 15 to move “or all your things will be thrown away. “

“I cried over and over again, like I knew I couldn’t change it,” she said. “The only thing I could do was find another place to stay. “

Hundreds of tenants in Houma, like Pierre, were told without warning that they were being evicted from their apartments due to the storm damage after Ida. Residents of Belmere Apartments received an email from management stating that “the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida made this property uninhabitable.”

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“Because we are no longer able to ensure your safety, we have no choice but to release your lease,” read the document, which was posted on Twitter by a resident.

Fortunately, Pierre was able to find a new apartment in Prairieville, but his new lease does not begin until September 19 and relocation resources have been scarce in Houma since the hurricane.

” Where are we going ? There is not enough storage. There are no hotels. There are no U-Hauls, ”she said. “That’s a lot of resources that we don’t have.”

The process has been emotionally draining for Pierre and his daughter, who have been having seizures since their deportation. “It is a tragic situation,” said Pierre.

Pierre said she wished her apartment complex had something in place for tenants so they didn’t have to scramble to find resources so suddenly after their leases were suspended.






Rayne Pierre’s apartment a week after Hurricane Ida hit. Hundreds of residents of an apartment in Houma are suddenly evicted due to damage from Hurricane Ida.




“Because (Cameron Isles Apartments) just tells us, ‘It really doesn’t matter. You just go where you go. We will have new tenants once we fix the building, ”she said.

“I feel like it just shows me that you really don’t care about me as a tenant. You only care about the money, ”said Pierre.

Belmere Apartments management also gave residents a list of resources and organizations “that can help with short and long term housing, as well as financial recovery,” according to the document.

Fairfield Property Management – which oversees the Belmere and Cameron Isles Apartments – did not respond to multiple calls for comment. Chateau Creole Apartments, whose residents also said on Twitter were suddenly evicting their residents – also did not respond to calls for comment.

In Belmere, residents who move have had to deal with the smell of rotten food coming out of refrigerators and left outside, as well as several alarm systems that went off with no one to turn them off.

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“If you see mold in this place, and I feel that we are putting our health at risk, as well as (putting our safety) at risk, because the ceilings are falling.” You know, I don’t know what kind of packaging the floors are in, ”said a mother moving for her daughter.

She said she didn’t want her daughter to come back to her apartments because “I didn’t want her exposed to all the molds because she has asthma.”

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“If it causes health problems, I will take it,” she said.

Lori Claud, another resident of the Cameron Islands who was suddenly deported, doesn’t yet know where she and her daughter will be living now, but knows she must find a place soon.

“All hotels in New Orleans are booked,” she said. “There are no hotels here in Houma. There is nothing in Thibodaux. There is nothing in the parish of Lafourche. There is nothing in Lafayette.”

Claude is looking for apartments in Texas, but will have to find a new job and a new school for his daughter.

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“It’s a disaster,” Claude said. “It’s just unfair for everyone in this community to have to find a place to go and to bustle about finding storage. “

Property management “could have handled this so much better,” she said.

“A lot of people don’t have the money (to move),” Claud said. “They live from paycheck to paycheck. “

“I was lucky to have savings. But not everyone has this. So what are they doing? ”Peter asked.

Louisiana House President Pro Tempore Tanner Magee R-Houma said in a text that mass evictions from apartments are “morally wrong, whether legal or not.”

“The apartments are as livable as anything else in Houma. There is no place for residents to go, ”he said.






Houma 3

A collapsed roof at Chateau Creole Apartments in Houma. Hundreds of residents of an apartment in Houma are suddenly evicted due to damage from Hurricane Ida.




The property managers of these apartments should have had a plan “to find housing for the residents before they were forced to leave,” Magee said.

State Representative Jerome Zeringue, a Republican who also represents Houma, said mass evictions “are a problem and worry a lot of people.”

Property managers are “a little heartless,” he said, “quickly evicting (their residents) and telling them that there is a very short window of opportunity for you to get out of business.”

Zeringue said property managers could have worked with local entities, shelters or the emergency operations center “so that people can at least have a chance” to get back on their feet.

Magee said he would propose legislation in the future “so that it doesn’t happen again”.

The Louisiana Illuminator is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan news organization based in Baton Rouge.

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