CHICAGO (CBS) – A mother from Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood is worried she and her family will soon be homeless. Everything they own, including their clothing and furniture, has been locked up by the city inside the woman’s apartment. The city says it is unsafe to enter the building. CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports.
Ivannia Cumming remembers last Wednesday just before midnight.
“The police, the fire department is banging on my door, telling me to get out and get out now,” she recalls.
That order to leave came a week ago, just hours after workmen, hired by the landlord to fix the roof without a city permit, caused serious damage.
Hundreds of pounds of bricks on the front side of the two flat had come crashing down. More were loosened and were now held in place only by the workers’ ladders which are still there.
Cumming says she saw the workers scatter after the avalanche and heard one of them shout, “Get out of there because it’s a danger.”
The woman says her landlord assured her everything was OK; then came the city’s emergency order to vacate. According to the order, the structure is unsafe.
A spokesman for the Chicago Department of Buildings told CBS 2: “Because it is in danger of collapsing further, she will not be allowed to go in to retrieve her belongings. There is no win in this case.”
The owners of the building will now face charges in Housing Court.
Cumming believes the landlord should, at the least, refund her $1,350 security deposit. So far, she says she’s been turned down.
“He’s the one who put us in this situation,” Cumming said. “His wife told me that I should feel pity for them. How can I feel pity for them?”
The owners of the building were not at their Northwest Side home Wednesday evening, and they have not returned phone calls.
Cumming is in another “Catch 22.” She will be allowed a supervised visit to retrieve only her family’s clothing, but only if she has a permanent place to live. At the moment, with little money, she does not. Wearing clothing from the Red Cross, the family is staying with relatives.
And Cumming’s furniture may be stuck in that damaged building for months, until experts decide if the place can be saved or must be torn down.