Pastor crusades to end substandard housing - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Pastor crusades to end substandard housing

February 17, 2003

Sylvester-- At least 50 homes have no heat or interior plumbing. "We're just sick of these deplorable living conditions in Sylvester," says Pastor Judy Hall.

When Sylvester passed an ordinance to clean up the community last year, some people thought that would mean big changes on the South side of town. Dozens of people are living in homes even their landlord admits are substandard. But so far nothing's been done.

Sylvester Pastor Judy Hall is drumming up support to put an end to substandard housing. "We are going to the city council meeting tonight to help you all get out of these conditions," Judy Hall said.

More than 50 Homes in the South Isabella Street area don't have kitchen sinks, bathtubs, or indoor toilets. "If you come out the door at night, got to step into water to get into an outhouse," Hall said.

Hall was looking for a place for the Jesus Christ Tabernacle of Deliverance to do missionary work, but didn't have to go a third world country, just to the bottom of the hill. "To get hot water, they got to put tub on stove and heat it up on the stove," Webbie Hill said.

"It's unsanitary it's unsafe, human beings shouldn't have to live like this," Hall said. We talked to the landlord and he agreed, that with conditions like this the homes are substandard, he says the city needs more affordable housing.

"It's just across the tracks, but to these people it's like a million miles away, they don't care about these houses," Hill said.

But Hall says she plans to stand up for those scared to speak out, and will be asking Sylvester to start enforcing it's own ordinances. "That's my mission to look out for neighbor whether they want it or not," Hall said. Judy Hall will address Council members tonight.

So what is the law in Sylvester? The property maintenance ordinance states that unsafe, and unsanitary structures are prohibited. To be sanitary it must have a lavatory, water closet, kitchen sink and tub.

Plumbing fixtures must be inside the home, and hot and cold water have to be available.

Either a public official or at least five city residents can ask for an investigation and court hearing.

If the home is found unfit it should either be repaired, or demolished.

posted at 5:35PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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