Worried Tenants Consider Next Move

JERMYN, Pa. -- An apartment building in Lackawanna County was cited for code enforcement violations more than a month ago. After weeks of making no repairs, tenants are afraid time has run out, and now, they don't know where they are going to live.

The apartment building on Washington Avenue in Jermyn has four units and 11 tenants, at least for now.

The building was cited in March, but no repairs to the roof or plumbing have been made since then. Now, tenants say they may have to get out this week.

Tenants are looking for another place to live after they say they were told Monday morning that their home could be condemned by the borough sometime this week.

"We've been living this way for over a week, not knowing whether we're going to have a place to go or a place to live day to day," said tenant Sue Snyder.

Tenants say the building on Washington Avenue was inspected in January and cited on March 16 because of roof, plumbing, and electrical issues. They say things got even worse after last week's heavy rain.

There are 11 people who live in the four units, including Ronald Dean and his three daughters. His oldest is blind and has cerebral palsy. If they have to move out, he doesn't know where they will go.

"We've been making phone calls nonstop for the past week. We're getting absolutely nowhere," Dean said.

The tenants have been trying to get in touch with housing agencies, but they either don't qualify, haven't heard back, or just can't get on a waiting list fast enough.

"What do we do? Where do we go?" Snyder asked.

"We don't know what to do at this point. We made a GoFundMe page because we can't get anywhere with the agencies without the proper documentation. We need a condemnation letter from most places," Dean said.

The building's owner was on the property on Monday. He did not want to go on camera, but he told Newswatch 16 he has not been able to hire a roofer in the amount of time he was given by the borough.

Tenants are looking for a backup plan if the work doesn't get done and they have to leave.

"We're all trying to help each other, notifying each other when we hear something. There's only so much we can do. We need agencies to step in. We need help from other people. We can't do it all on our own," Snyder said.

We reached out to the borough's code enforcement officer about when exactly the building could be condemned, but we have not heard back.