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Property owner to stop eviction process on Belle Glade rooming house residents

Commissioner Melissa McKinlay meets with city, new owner
A rooming house in Belle Glade on June 15, 2022.jpg
Posted at 3:48 PM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 00:39:58-04

BELLE GLADE, Fla. — There could be some relief coming for residents of a Belle Glade rooming house where its remaining residents face the possibility of evictions after a new property owner acquired it.

WPTV got word Wednesday afternoon from Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay that the new property owner will abandon the eviction process in an effort to avoid hurting a resident's credit.

The commissioner had a closed door meeting Wednesday with the city of Belle Glade and the new property owner.

McKinlay said the city is filing paperwork for an emergency condemnation of the building and the remaining residents must vacate the property within a certain time frame.

She said the new owner never reported anything regarding the living conditions to the city of county, and neither did the tenants.

Woman sits dejected outside Belle Glade rooming house, June 15, 2022
A woman sits and stares at the ground outside a Belle Glade rooming house where residents were facing the possibility of eviction, June 15, 2022.

There was also another meeting happening Wednesday between Palm Beach County's Community Services Department and the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, looking to establish potential hotel stays and shelter beds for the tenants there.

"Our team has been on site and we understand the urgency of this matter," said James Green, the director of Palm Beach County's Community Services Department. "We will continue to do everything that we can to work with the property owner to get as much time, transition time as possible, to assist these residents and do everything we can to offer support and offer assistance to these residents as they transition to the next location."

"But then you're left with the same issues," said Jacob Beychek, the lead attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County's eviction program. "What is the long term fix here? What is the long term fix, not only for this building, for the Glades, for the county? This is a large scale issue and what we’ve seen over the last few days with this story in Belle Glade is kind of a microcosm of a larger that is going to persist."

WPTV also learned Wednesday the new owner understands the building needs to be condemned and is not fighting the city on this decision. The owner will work with the city to perform major renovations in order to bring it into compliance.