When thousands of Katrina evacuees, the overwhelming percentage of them Negro, arrived in Houston in 2005, they immediately caused problems in the local area. Even the Houston blacks couldn't stand them - the Katrina blacks would start fights and engage in classical TNB. At one point during 2006, 20 percent of all Houston homicides involved a Katrina refugee.
And it looks like dozens of them who moved into the Candlewood Glen Apartments in northwest Houston abruptly transformed a once-thriving community into a full-blown Third World slum. On June 2nd, 2008, the Houston Chronicle reports on how this complex now appears vacant, crumbling, forgotten — a place where broken windows and discarded mattresses outnumber paying residents.
Of course, the Houston Chronicle scrupulously avoids mentioning the race of the majority of the tenants, even though it is pertinent and despite the fact that it is well-known that the majority of Katrina evacuees were the black residents of the Ninth Ward.
But in the evenings, youths from around the neighborhood, a northwest Houston street notorious for crime and troubled properties, gather on the complex's scuffed concrete court for pickup basketball games. The games play out amid a striking example of urban decay, even in a city with dozens of subclass apartment complexes. "It's a place to play ball," said James Bell, 19, who moved to the complex after fleeing New Orleans in Hurricane Katrina's wake. "This is the only place we can go."
The 172-unit complex, in the 5400 block of DeSoto, deteriorated dramatically after scores of evacuees were placed there in 2005. Now, only about 12 units remain legally occupied, and the management office is shuttered. Rotting trash sits in piles. Copper pipes and air conditioners' coils have been ripped on a mass scale from burglarized units. The swimming pool is filled with water the color of crude oil. "It's just a horrible place," said Roy Millmore, executive director of the Near Northwest Management District, an organization that focuses on reducing crime in the area.
The poor conditions inside the complex have persisted for months, in part because many of the property's 43 fourplexes are owned by out-of-state investors, rather than a single owner. That makes applying pressure to improve conditions more complicated for city inspectors.
But code inspectors, until recently, had been asleep at the switch. No inspectors had visited the property in a decade until the Houston Chronicle recently documented its conditions. City officials claim they had not received complaints from people living there and that they are trying to enforce codes more aggressively than in years past. In February 2008, the city's Neighborhood Protection Corps issued 81 notices of noncompliance warnings, citing codes prohibiting nuisances and dangerous buildings and requiring minimum structural standards. No criminal citations have resulted. And more recently, city code enforcement inspectors found open power transformers and instances in which residents had wired around the meters to steal electricity, posing a danger to residents.
During the first part of this decade, the quality of life was slowly declining at the complex. But it was still livable until Katrina evacuees arrived from New Orleans in late 2005. Owners were eager to lease to the hurricane evacuees because their rents were guaranteed by the government. But here was the catch: The owners were not allowed to screen their new tenants based on criminal or rental history. Not surprisingly, the Katrina evacuees quickly turned the place into a dump.
"The Katrina people, they came in, and everybody thought it was the savior for the property, because we were going to fill it up," said Bill Strickland, a California real estate investor who estimated he lost about $250,000 — and most of his net worth — when banks foreclosed on his four vacant buildings.
Told that people were living in one of his former buildings, Strickland said he did not care. "I'm in a situation, honestly, where if someone wanted to sue me, I'd say, 'Hey, sue me.' I don't have anything anymore," he said. "My personal home and all my rentals are in foreclosure."
The city administered housing for evacuees in 51 units at the location, a property that employees working on hurricane recovery came to know well after owners complained about damages. "That was one of those places that was crazy, to be honest with you," said Roderick Williform, a city worker assigned to a task force that helped evacuees find housing through a rent voucher program. "One guy came and told me, 'They took my commode. They took my cabinets.' "
Read the rest of the story HERE.
A couple of people posting comments also laid blame at the feet of Houston Mayor Bill White, who is black. These problems seem to crop up more often in black-ruled cities:
And, apparently this property has never been to a building commission hearing? The City is not taking care of business.
All of these slums should have been taken to hearings years ago. The city of Houston has complexes like this all over the city.
Giving Neighborhood Protection to the police should have made things easier for the inspectors to do their jobs. Apparently, the police have just kept the same old unacceptable system for the working inspectors, so the job is still not getting done. Blame Mayor White and the top cop.
There are so many City Attorneys, yet issues like this can somehow fall between the cracks. WHY? Someone thinks there is not enough "glory" in this issue unlike going after hotels, strip clubs where more "glory" is seen and things get noticed.
2005 was on Bill White's watch and only shows how he too lets things fall between cracks. Sure was one of the first encouraging NO Katrina folk over and having them put up here locally yet this is an absolutely disgrace Mayor White, while on your watch in your backyard!
Commentary: It looks like a bunch of desperate owners thought they could financially save themselves by accepting guaranteed rent from the Federal government for housing Katrina refugees. They were even willing to accept the "no-screening" conditions.
They should have known better. They could have easily found out what happens when you allow large quantities of low-income Negroes to move into a neighborhood. The neighborhood quickly goes to hell in a handbasket. Unable to keep up with the exponentially-increased demand for maintenance and repair, some of the property owners just threw up their hands and turned their backs on their poroperties, preferring to eat a foreclosure loss rather than deal with the endless aggravation.
Complicating the issue is that Houston is apparently a free-fire zone when it comes to zoning restrictions. In other words, there are virtually no restrictions and negligible enforcement. And now similar problems are surfacing elsewhere in the city, as Houston continues to devolve to Third World status.