Tenant Awaits Willacy Co. Notice to Move Out of Rundown Apar
RAYMONDVILLE – Time is running out on a waiting game between Willacy County and a tenant. The tenant lives in a decaying apartment complex that hasn't had an inspection in years. The complex is owned by the county.
Willacy County has a 38 percent poverty rate. That's more than twice the state average. The county and the city of Raymondville take that into consideration when deciding what happens next for the tenant living in the dilapidated complex.
Broken windows, missing siding, a car seat doubling as a swing are signs of a homecoming undone. The county and city believe this is not a place you live in by choice.
Raymondville Mayor Gilbert Gonzales believes, "More than likely they are living in poverty. They can't afford to pay too much rent, because of whatever they have financially coming in.”
Gonzales knows about this building. He knows how bad it is outside. No one knows the conditions inside. No inspections are on record. CHANNEL 5 NEWS looked for the tenant. She wasn't home.
We caught up with her at work as a home health provider. Lydia Garcia confirms what's suspected.
"Yes, it scares me when there's a lot of wind when the water comes. I just ask God that it doesn't fall, that it doesn't fall because I don't know what happens," she admits.
She tells us she's lived at the complex since 1999. As a manager, she witnessed the decay. Eventually, the owner failed to pay property taxes.
The county put a lien on the title and took the property. The county tried selling the property three times at auction. Nobody bid on it.
Garcia looked for other places to live. She can't afford traditional affordable housing.
She explains, "I don't earn too much and I have to send money to my grandchildren every two weeks. Sometimes you get tired of working."
She works two jobs as a home health care provider. Right now, she's only paying for utilities. The rest of her money goes to her daughter. She's a single mother living in Matamoros with two children and a bi-weekly paycheck of $60.
The code enforcement officer tells us the city, county and school district have to decide what happens next.
They will be asking Garcia to begin making plans to find other living arrangements. She says she's looking for a place but can only afford a rent of up to $300 a month.