Liberty Regional Homeless Coalition President Jim McIntosh addressed Hinesville city council about rental housing at Thursday’s meeting, saying some are in “deplorable and uninhabitable” condition.
McIntosh said one such home was brought to his attention in July.
Since that time McIntosh said he has worked with the tenant of that home, a single mother of three, who’s been forced to live in what he called terrible conditions because it was all she could afford.
McIntosh said the water, electrical and various other issues the woman is forced to deal with stem from the home’s owner failing to take responsibility to make repairs and bring the house up to current code.
“Mayor and members of the council, today I come to you as an advocate…and it has to do with rental property,” McIntosh said. “As a couple of members of the council are aware the Coalition has been involved with a piece of rental property…The family in this property is almost destitute and the circumstances they are required to live in just doesn’t cut it for a modern day city like Hinesville.”
He said his group has placed the family in temporary shelter but he asked the mayor and council to start looking at rental properties throughout the city, and ensure that homeowners are properly caring for their rental properties.
Councilwoman Diana Reid said she met with the family and called the woman a hard-working person in unfortunate circumstances. Reid agreed that something needs to be done about derelict homes. Councilman Keith Jenkins said people need to be proactive in contacting the Building and Permitting office so the inspectors can address these problems immediately.
Interim City Manager Kenneth Howard said they are currently addressing the issue of this particular home with the owner and that the tenant may qualify for housing through the Housing Authority.
In other council business:
ESG Interim Project Director Gary Gilliard provided an update on storm debris removal still ongoing from Hurricane Irma.
Gilliard said ESG is still in the process of collecting debris caused by Hurricane Irma. He said employees are working 12-hour shifts rotating employees every three days in order to get caught up.
He said that on Sept. 18, they resumed yard trash pickup service in the city. He said sections of the community east of Highway 84 had larger debris piles.
He said a normal Monday pickup would have yielded 5-6 loads of yard trash.
“But this past Monday…we picked up 18 loads and that was just a third of Monday’s route,” Gilliard said. He said it should take about three weeks to collect all the storm debris and get back to regular service. He said the bulk of the employees are currently focusing their efforts on debris removal but they do have workers maintaining the lawns along the city right-of-ways. He said they are working on clearing the drains and gutters so they can resume regular street sweeping schedules.
The mayor and council members recognized organizers and volunteers who put together Tied to Success event Aug. 26.