Evictions in Marysville leave residents looking for options
December 6, 2017
All tenants of an apartment complex at 31 Third Street in Marysvlle were evicted this week. A few remained at the building, which smelled of trash, feces and mold, to gather their belongings.
They had been allowed to stay past the deadline because they were "good tenants," the landlord said.
Dennis Stone, co-owner of the property, said he and his business partner purchased the complex to help low-income families. Rent was $350 a month, each tenant had one of 13 rooms and shared communal bathrooms.
"It's sad," Stone said. "It boils down to the people who lived here did not know how good they had it. The purpose of the whole thing was to provide a clean living establishment for people who had limited resources."
For a time, he said the tenants paid their rent and kept the complex clean, but slowly they began inviting non-tenants into the building. Windows were broken, trash began to pile up and bugs started infesting the building.
"I've spent hundreds of dollars on bug bombs," Stone said. "If you keep the trash, then the bugs are going to come back. It had nothing to do with a clean living environment."
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Jeffery Creekbaum, who lived at the complex with his wife and son, said Stone tried to work with the tenants to address cleanliness problems.
"This man has gone out of his way," Creekbaum said. "It's been a four-month eviction process."
Stone said he allowed Creekbaum and his family to move out past the deadline because they had been good tenants.
Charlene Huffman, Creekbaum's wife, said she is nervous about where her family will live next and blamed the other tenants for her family's homelessness.
"I'm nervous. I have no idea what to do," Huffman said. "It seems every time we get built up, we get put down."
Huffman said she and her husband have lived in the apartment complex for about two years and have actively kept the property clean.
"It just got to be too much after a while," she said. "(Stone's) a very decent landlord. This was the cheapest, most affordable place for low-income people."
'Multiple options' in Yuba County
Huffman said she planned to approach Yuba County Health and Human Services to find interim housing.
Russ Brown, Yuba County spokesman, said Heath and Human Services has multiple options available to people faced with homelessness. Brown said he encourages those on the verge of becoming homeless to call 530-749-6811. The hotline is answered by trained staff who can tailor resources to meet the caller's needs, he said.
"The reason is because there are different programs to address the different needs that lead to homelessness," Brown said. "Needs differ for a family, a single male or a single female."
Stone said a majority of his tenants had previously been homeless and had lived in the river bottoms before he and his business partner opened the complex. He said they probably returned to their old camps after being evicted.
"They slapped us in the face," he said.
Brown said some homeless are returning to camps, but the county will clear those areas as they are made aware of them.
"Our hope is that people won't return to the riverside," he said. "They'll look to other options available to them."
The apartment complex will be boarded shut to prevent squatting, Stone said. He and his partner plan to remodel the building and reopen it as a women's shelter or a halfway house.
Patrick Groves is a reporter for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.