San Bernardino closed residential buildings with violators, forcing hundreds to find new homes

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) — Hundreds of people living in a run-down San Bernardino dorm are desperate for a new place to live after learning the building is closing.

The city is trying to find more suitable places to live for everyone.

Residents say the building — an illegally converted dormitory — is plagued by rats and roaches, as well as mold, electrical problems and other hazards.

Enforcement of the code has declared the building unsafe despite numerous attempts and fines from the City of San Bernardino to get the owner to make repairs. Now it is closed and the residents only have a few weeks to find new accommodation.

Residents are used to paying low rents and say it will be difficult to find another apartment that is as cheap.

Rent for most units ranges from $600 to $700 per month with no down payment or deposit required. The 280 residents cannot afford more.

“I was homeless for four years before I moved here, and I refuse to be homeless again,” says Angelina Trammell-Krone, resident of the house.

Lisa Torres Mendivil shares her tiny room with two of her adult sons. The only light comes from the bathroom as she says the owner never fixed the main light.

She says that she and most of her roommates don’t earn enough to afford most of the other apartments.

“The rent is really high (in other buildings),” she says. “So this is the only place for a lot of us.”

According to San Bernardino spokesman Jeff Kraus, the city is working to find new homes for residents.

“The city is working with everyone and everyone to find alternative housing, temporary housing, and transitional housing to put people in permanent, longer-term, and safer conditions,” Kraus said.

Kraus says the building was never licensed as an apartment and accuses the owner of taking advantage of local residents.

The building is owned by Fox Property Holdings LLC, which lists the owner as Ji Li.

When Eyewitness News tried to reach Li to inquire about the property, his property manager said Li had tried to make repairs but blamed the deteriorating conditions on residents.

“We’ve lived here for the last two and a half years, perfect,” said manager Jeff Young. “There were no complaints.”

He acknowledged that finding new housing for residents will be difficult.

“Oh, it’s a problem, but where are you going to put these people? None of them have credit.”

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. San Bernardino closed residential buildings with violators, forcing hundreds to find new homes

Laura Coffey

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