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WPTV Contact 5 questions Palm Beach County commissioner about rooming house

Commissioner Melissa McKinlay says she's meeting with Belle Glade officials
A June 14, 2022 photo of a Belle Glade rooming house where residents are being evicted.jpg
Posted at 4:22 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 19:54:16-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Palm Beach County county commissioner told WPTV Contact 5 that she's meeting with officials Wednesday in Belle Glade about a rooming house where residents are being forced out of their homes after new property owners took over.

The residents are facing eviction by the new owner and some don't want to go.

Earlier on Tuesday, Buczyner waited outside of a Palm Beach County commission meeting to speak with Commissioner Melissa McKinlay about the property, which is in her district.

"How does the county allow people to live with these types of conditions?" Buczyner asked.

"Nobody allows anybody to live in those types of conditions except for the landlord," McKinlay answered. "The county and the cities can only respond when we're made aware of the situation."

The commissioner told Buczyner that fire inspectors have only been able to inspect the outside of the property.

Commissioner Melissa McKinlay speaks to Contact 5 about Belle Glade housing conditions, June 14, 2022
"Nobody allows anybody to live in those types of conditions except for the landlord," Commissioner Melissa McKinlay tells WPTV Contact 5. "The county and the cities can only respond when we're made aware of the situation."

WPTV learned Tuesday that inspectors with Palm Beach County Fire Rescue found violations at the property less than three weeks ago. WPTV requested a copy of that inspection from fire rescue to learn more about the violations and is still waiting to receive it.

McKinlay said the county is working with Belle Glade to get those fire inspectors inside of the units to inspect them as well.

"Are the living conditions safe out there for these people?" Buczyner asked.

"I don’t think so, no, which is why we're doing everything we can to help those families get relocated," McKinlay answered.

McKinlay said the new owner of the building intends to demolish the building and she wants to get it condemned.

WPTV contacted the owner and his attorney for comment. Both hung up the telephone.

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