AURORA, Ill. (CBS) — By the end of the day on Monday, some tenants in the western suburbs will be homeless.
They are being kicked out of an apartment complex in Aurora. And as CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reported, some are wondering why city leaders aren’t doing more to help.
For weeks, the landlord has been offering to put up displaced residents at a Rodeway Inn in North Aurora – but that goes only through noon Monday. Most of the renters said they officially learned last week that they would need to find another place to live – but many cannot afford to rent elsewhere.
A representative for the landlord said the City of Aurora wants too much in terms of repairs for the place the tenants were living in. As a result, dozens of lives are in limbo.
Last week, a handful of renters packed up their things at the building at 480 Garfield Ave. in Aurora. Signs mounted on the building read, “Unsafe structure,” and, “Vacate the building immediately.”
Tenants at the former YMCA turned apartment complex said they were warned last Monday that they would have to go.
In the field near the hotel in North Aurora, James Herron was playing with his young family on Sunday.
“Three years old and 45 days,” Herron said. “It is safe to say I’ve got my hands full at the moment.”
He is one of more than two dozen people who has called the hotel home for the last two weeks, but will no longer have that option.
“Yes, I’m going to be homeless,” Herron said.
“It’s sad, man,” said Earl Mabry. “We really don’t know where to go after this. After Monday, we’re basically homeless – me and my kids and their mother.”
“We got 22 hours before we’re going to be sleeping in the car,” said Clint Cluchey.
“I look at my kids every day and I’m in tears, because I hate to see my kids have to go through this,” Mabry continued.
“I think that’s an understatement. For me not to be able to provide for my wife, it breaks my heart,” Cluchey added as he began to cry.
The landlord has paid for dozens to stay at the North Aurora hotel, while the city asks the property owner to address building issues.
The City of Aurora said several concerns began back on June 12, when a basement flood damaged electrical gear – resulting in a fire.
The owner tried to repair the damage, but it was not enough. The Aurora Building Department said on Aug. 2, fire officials posted the building as unsafe. Days later, there was a sign posted saying the building was unlawfully occupied, and on Aug. 29, the fire alarm and some smoke detectors were not working.
The City of Aurora added that no one should have been living in the 480 Garfield Ave. building from mid-June through the present. Mabry was asking where the city was when it came to those once living in the building.
“They called the alderman from Aurora. He gave my wife his number for her to call. That was a dead end: ‘Oh we can’t help you.’ That’s basically all it is, or it’s a homeless shelter where me and my wife have to be split up,” Cluchey said. “The only thing keeping me going is her. I can’t do this without her.”
“They have more power and more potential to do more,” said Herron.
“We’ve been trying to get in touch with the people of Aurora – even the mayor,” Mabry said. “Don’t nobody seem to care.”
And when asked if he felt like the City of Aurora had turned its back on him, Cluchey said, “Everybody. Nobody cares.”
CBS 2 spoke briefly with a representative for the landlord. He said the fixes Aurora is asking them to do make it difficult to get the building back open.
CBS 2 also reached out to the Aurora mayor’s office for this story, but our messages had not been returned late Sunday.