Jan 15, 2014 12:15 AM by Tom McNamara and Paul Birmingham
Here is a follow-up to something the News 4 Tucson Investigators first told you about last August. It's about homes and apartments that are owned by the City of Tucson, and rented to low-income tenants.
Our News 4 Tucson Investigation revealed that the city owns about 1,800 units, housing close to 5,000 people.
One of those tenants contacted the News 4 Tucson Investigators, after she says she was unfairly evicted right before the holidays.
For Anais Ramirez, the trouble began when a pipe burst in her city-owned apartment, heavily damaging her furniture.
So, she and her three young children moved into another city-owned property, in a neighborhood near Speedway and Alvernon.
Her ordeal began to quickly snowball, when she lost her job last summer. What's more, she says the city took two months, instead of two-weeks, to process paperwork required for much needed cash, to help pay her utilities.
"They were so unorganized. They never had a manager that was in place all the time," Ramirez says.
Ramirez ended up owing the city just under $300.00 rent, and they started the eviction process.
Ramirez tells the News 4 Tucson Investigators, she did everything she could to come up with the money. She even took a out a title loan on her car. But, the city landlords weren't interested.
"I told her, I have the money. And, she said your court process is already in-process. And, she didn't want it, and she didn't want it," Ramirez says.
Ramirez appeared in court, where a judge ordered her out of her apartment. Meanwhile, she says, it was a much different story for other non-city tenants in court that day.
"I was pretty upset, because I had the money, and she could have taken it, and dismissed it at the court like a lot of other cases were dismissed. I saw a lot of other cases that were dismissed because they already paid their rent. They accepted the money," Ramirez says.
Ramirez tells the News 4 Tucson Investigators, throughout the entire eviction process, the city has been less than sympathetic.
"Their attitude has just been like no, no, we can't help you no more. That's it. Like, you've got to find how to deal with you and your family. Like, you've got to find how to live now. Like there's no way we can help you with anything. Very negative," Ramirez says.
For now, Ramirez and her children are staying with family in cramped quarters, but she isn't giving up her fight to get back into her apartment.
"I don't care what I have to do to show them they did wrong. They put a family out on the streets without having a place to live," Ramirez says.
City housing officials refuse to comment specifically on this case. Though, The Director of Tucson's Housing and Community Development Department does tell us, there is a grievance procedure provided to every tenant. She adds that payment will be accepted to avoid the eviction, unless it is a default on a repayment agreement or there is a history of other lease violations.
The News 4 Tucson Investigators will continue to closely follow this case, and let you know what we find out.
If you have something you'd like the News 4 Tucson Investigators to look into, email us, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the News 4 Tucson Investigators tip-line at (520) 955-4444.