|By Tracey McManus, The Augusta Chronicle, Ga.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The drywall has been removed from the bottom portion of the wall, and the 66-year-old disabled
After a small kitchen fire on a second-floor apartment
Baxley's unit had all of its carpet ripped up, most of the ceiling tiles removed and one of its walls cut open to be fully exposed, but rent was still due
"I don't feel safe here, it's not livable, but they're still making me pay rent," said Baxley, who has rented a room in
That left residents like Baxley with few options.
For project-based vouchers, public housing agencies enter into contracts with property owners for specific units. Because assistance is tied to the unit, a tenant who moves away from the property loses that voucher.
Wannamaker said Ambling gave tenants in damaged apartments the option to terminate their leases with no penalty but no one took the offer.
She acknowledged that it's an undesirable option because moving out of
Augusta Code Enforcement has not condemned any of the units, including Baxley's, which Wannamaker said makes them habitable.
However, repair work has not been able to start because the insurance company has not yet approved Ambling's claim, leaving tenants to wait and live in damaged apartments.
"Our hands are kind of tied," Wannamaker said. "We are sitting on top of our insurance company right now because insurance will have to pay for the work done. We're saying please, please, please come out here. Please approve our plans."
In an e-mail,
Baxley said no one would want to live in such conditions.
"I guess this is life, but I'd just like for them to have compassion," he said.
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