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East Stuart families forced out of homes after inspector finds multiple code violations

Posted at 11:37 PM, Jun 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-30 23:37:12-04

STUART, Fla. -- Nearly 16 families in East Stuart have moved out of their homes, after an inspector found they were living in buildings with multiple code violations.

The City of Stuart hired an inspector last fall to examine more than a dozen dwellings on SE 10th Street. A report shows the inspector found 20 violations for 20 structures, deeming all 20 unsafe.

The issues included structural problems, termite damage, cracked stucco and siding, and electrical and plumbing issues.

Notes from the inspector describe one building had a high risk of collapsing.

The city gave the owners, Claudius and Ruby Taylor, until July 1 to take corrective action, and vacate the properties.

Now, the city anticipates demolishing the unsafe structures during the month of July.

Betty Brinkley knows some of the people forced out of their homes. “It’s kind of a sad day, you know? These people have been there forever,” Brinkley said.

She says some of the buildings have had structural issues for years. People stayed in the buildings, she says, because the rent was cheap. Affordable housing elsewhere is too hard to find, she says.

City officials say most everyone has found alternate living arrangements.

House of Hope is one of the organizations that stepped in to help.

“We’re trying to get them situated with first and last month, things like that to help get the ball rolling,” said House of Hope CEO, Rob Ranieri.

Ranieri knows finding all of the families a new home is a challenge in Martin County.

He says affordable housing is very limited in the County. “Helping 16 families is not as easy as it sounds like it should be,” Ranieri said.

He hopes this situation exposes the need for the city and county to help low income families have more living options.