GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Eviction notices are going out to a dozen families living at apartments opened to help homeless and low income residents. Oregon Place was purchased and refurbished with grant money, and the apartments were designed to be an affordable place for a fresh start.
Even before the eviction notices, Christopher Engle contacted Action Reporter A.J. Giardina about living without working heaters.
"I have a one-year-old and a three-year-old and they don't need to be freezing at night," Engle said. "It's ridiculous."
Engle said the Oregon Place apartment his family moved into three months ago was a blessing. But it has never had working air conditioning or heat.
"It's been getting below freezing and we have no heat other than a little space heater."
To make the apartment's heater work, Engle said the apartment office has been handing out car fuses for residents to install themselves.
"Yes, car fuses straight out of a vehicle is what they have been giving me, instead of actually fixing the unit," Engle stated. "I take a screwdriver. I will show you. This pops off and they go in the back left corner."
He added, "You can see dark marks where they have been burned out and I've gone through about eight of these that I get from the office."
I walked over to the Oregon Place Apartment office and met with Lance Geil, the Director of Operations. He didn't want to be interviewed on camera, but told me he didn't know anything about car fuses in the heaters.
"It's ridiculous," Engle said. "We purchased this little heater from Walmart. It gets us through, but I would really appreciate it if they could get everything straightened up around here."
Within 15 minutes of my visit, a repairman showed up and began working on the heater.
Engle admits he's had a tough time paying his $600 rent. The complex director told us a dozen others haven't paid rent, and those folks are on the eviction list.
In addition, the director says the complex owes $32,000 to the power company, so he may soon have to cut off power.
The Engles didn't get an eviction notice Wednesday. The family decided to move out of the Oregon Place Apartments and are now living with family.