Hargrove Apartments mass eviction: Residents had no place to go

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – On July 1 residents at the Hargrove apartments found out they were evicted, some residents were given 20 days’ notice, others 10, and still others weren’t notified at all.

This devastating event has affected the elderly, disabled, and those with small children. They had no plans or resources.

“Two people were able to make it in at the homeless shelter,” said human rights activist/community advocate Christina Baisden. “Other people are staying with relatives temporarily or couch-surfing.”

At the Hargrove apartment complex, a mass eviction left residents homeless and scrambling for answers.

Rumor has it, Baisden says that this property is going to be ‘renovated’ and made available to WVU tech students for housing. West Virginia favors tenants rights, yet with Hargrove it seemed they were left in the cold.

“It’s a long, lengthy and, quite frankly, arduous process to get these people out of properties,” Baisden said. “Do I understand why he did it that way? Yeah, absolutely. But it doesn’t make it right — and these people’s rights were violated.”

The condition of these apartments was deplorable and they’ve been this way for some time.

“For a landlord to be making $12 to $14,000 a month in just rent alone, and not reinvesting at least a portion of that back to maintain the building,” said the community advocate. “I lived on Hargrove Street for many years, and my sister lives there now, and nothing has been invested.”

She is now reaching out to local organizations to help these people. That is the immediate need so they have a place to go, food and can care for their families. Because as bad as you think Hargrove is it is 100 times worse…

“Been roach-infested, bedbug-infested, there’s a massive drug problem there. There’s a gang problem there. And nothing has ever been done about that,” Baisden said.

The human rights advocate wants to organize a tenant’s rights workshop, legal aid hosted them previously through the human rights commission here locally and educated people on exactly what their rights are as a tenant.

“And I had to explain to them, know that there’s a process that has to be gone through in order to make eviction legal,” said Baisden. “And it’s important that people understand that so they can advocate for themselves.”

She also thinks the attorney general should be contacted about the condition of this building and other rental properties in the area because adequate housing is a human right.

“Places that are infested with bugs, to the degree that Hargrove was and other apartments are is not considered adequate housing,” Baisden said. “Like these landlords need to be held accountable. Who is supposed to be holding these people accountable? Is it the city administration? Is it code enforcement? I have no complete answers on that.”

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