Residents of substandard homes ponder future - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Residents of substandard homes ponder future

March 26, 2003

SYLVESTER - It's a tale of two low income families, both in Sylvester. The Hamiltons are paying $36 a month for public housing, "I'm proud of where I stay at and I love my apartment to death," Martha Hamilton said.

The Williams are paying $100 a month for a home, likely five months away from being condemned. "It's just a disgrace way it is," Dorothy B. Williams said. 

Williams, a seventeen year resident of the Isabella and Martin Luther King Drive community, lives in the two-bedroom house with her six children and grandchildren.

"We have no sink, just have a commode in the bathroom, that's it," Dorothy B. Williams said. "We heat our water in the stove to wash dishes and we heat our water to take a bath with we don't have running water out here."

After a crusade for better housing by a local church, the city responded. "We said have to bring up to building code or be tore down," City Manager Jim Dinley said. 

All indications so far, are the landlord will choose the latter. The question now where will Williams and other people in the community go? A housing authority home like Hamilton's? Not likely.

"Right now we are 100 percent occupied, have 44 people on public housing waiting list and 97 on rural development waiting list,"  Steve Bennett said.

But the housing authority director says anyone in need of housing should apply, like Hamilton, luck might be on your side.

"If it weren't for them, the housing authority I don't know where I'd be,"

Probably some where on Isabella with an outhouse at the backdoor, and a condemned sign soon to be on the front.

With it's waiting list, Sylvester is like many other South Georgia towns. The housing authority reports it's continuing to apply for grants and create more affordable housing. They also are urging public housing residents to continue their education and begin saving for a house.

posted at 6:13 p.m. by dave.d'marko@walb.com

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