On April 5, Lansing City Council members convened a special Committee of the Whole meeting to discuss Lansing housing problems.
City Council President Carol Wood said the inefficiency of the previous administrative department in dealing with the housing problem in Lansing has caused many problems and she hoped that it would be improved in the follow-up process.
“When I look at the failures that happened, there were ordinances that were passed that were never fulfilled by the people that were in charge that were supposed to make sure these things happened,” said Wood.
Residents shared their views that the city has made serious mistakes in dealing with the follow-up resettlement of people who have been expelled from their homes.
Rosalyn Williams, a resident at Autumn Ridge Apartments, told council members that there were problems in the support system and charging model of the community. She talked with Mayor Andy Schor after her home was condemned Feb. 24 because it is not heated.
“We are not in a position to be treating people like stupid,” said Williams. “HRC (Human Relations Commissions) needs to be reevaluated, start cutting the budget if you cannot prove anything.”
Elaine Womboldt, founder of Rejuvenate South Lansing, told council members it is time to do some aggressive measures to correct these problems.
“The time is now to make the property owners and the management accountable for their neglect and not correcting the red tag issues,” said Womboldt.
Barb Kimmel and Human Relations and Community Services Director Kim Coleman attended the meeting to answer the council’s questions.
Kimmel said it’s usually the houses that have safety hazards that are red-tagged, and the employee who goes to inspect the condition of the house for the next 30 days.
Council members asked Kimmel how to ensure that residents’ property is protected during executive inspections of properties, and if there was a suitable system for reviewing employees.
Kimmel said they deal with possible employee negligence through some ways like improvement programs and written reprimands. She added that no employee evaluations have been conducted in the last 15 years.
2nd Ward Council Member Jeremy Garza asked Kimmel if they have any procedures in place to track rent certificates. Kimmels said that they did have and talked about what to do with the rent certificate when it expired.
“When rental certificates expire then a letter goes out and automatically generated and it goes to the property owner,” said Kimmels. “We schedule the inspection and if the inspection requires repairs, we are also going to make sure they are completed prior to issuing the certificate.”