MOUNTAIN GROVE, Mo. — Tenants at a Mountain Grove apartment complex are facing more than just the changing temperatures.
After living in the dark for several weeks, many tenants now face homelessness after the city condemned the building.
The City of Mountain Grove has condemned The Studios after a fire knocked out the power to the entire building last month, but no changes have been made to improve the situation.
However, this does not solve the immediate problems as several tenants have no place to go just days before they are pushed out onto the street. Renters say the lack of programs in the city to help those in emergency need makes the situation worse.
The owner of the building tells Ozarks First he is racing around to get the power back on while it is condemned. However, that does not solve the problem facing those who are still here.
Tenant Wayne Stewart has spent a month in the dark.
“There was an attic fire. Since then, we have had no power. The water has been shut off. We’ve been dealing with cockroaches, bedbugs. Just miserable,” said Stewart
So, has tenant Cassandra Snyder.
“You have to bring a flashlight all the time, so there’s that. Oh, and since the water has been turned off, it only got worse because you can’t wash dishes, you can’t clean yourself, you can’t really clean anything,” said Snyder.
The apartments they live in, The Studios in Mountain Grove were condemned by the city last week after no changes happened since the fire.
“We were told that [the changes] were supposed to happen Nov. 1 by the owner of the building, and it did not happen Nov. 1,” said Mountain Grove City Administrator Tim Schook. “So, after that, we took steps.”
The next step was to condemn the building, as it was uninhabitable, Schook said.
The owner of the building, Christopher Swatosh, says he is trying to get the power restored but time is not on his side.
“Our electrician is going to get the power restored. And I think the building will be fine within a matter of days. It may take a couple weeks to finish it completely. But he tells me there’s going to be power tomorrow. So I’m hopeful and I’m optimistic that the tenants will be able to get back in quickly,” said Swatosh.
People who live in the building say despite the conditions of their homes they wish the city could have the ability to help.
“They didn’t want us to be in this building because they was worried about us being cold or they was worried about us dying, maybe. But then here they are throwing us out on the streets, you know, which is, in my opinion, worse,” said Snyder.
“My wife passed away in 2020 and I’m really happy that she’s not here going through this with me as well. And that’s sad, because I love my wife and I would give anything to have it back with me. But I’m glad she’s not here with me going through this,” said Stewart.
“I mean, we really feel for those people and this is part of our process. We can’t allow them to live in those conditions. The one thing I don’t want to do is pull a dead body out of that building,” said Schook.
Tenants at the building will have to be out by Nov. 25.
The two people Ozarks First spoke to today — Snyder and Stewart — say they are incredibly thankful for the help they have received from churches and other individuals in the area.