The South Bend Housing Authority has two weeks to relocate about 40 remaining residents from the Rabbi Shulman Apartment building. The complex was declared unsafe in November.
Housing Authority Executive Director Catherine Lamberg said the majority of those residents are still living in the Rabbi Shulman building. She said issues with the building’s gas line haven’t “escalated to the point of emergency,” and residents in units without gas have been moved to units with gas.
Some residents, however, are housed in a hotel off of U.S. 31 following a boiler outage that caused parts of the building to lose heat. Lamberg said the housing authority contracted with the hotel before last week’s winter storm and below-freezing temperatures.
“We told the residents, ‘Under no circumstance do you have to stay. If you have no heat, we have rooms for you,’” Lamberg said.
South Bend Tenant Association Director Rodney Gadson – who’s been working to help rehouse Rabbi Shulman tenants – said moving to those rooms presents challenges for disabled and elderly residents, leading many of them to just stay in the building.
“A lot of people don’t want to leave their close amenities," Gadson said. "Their doctor’s office is across the street, the grocery store is across the street, the bus system is close.”
Gadson said the residents he’s worked with still feel there hasn’t been enough communication between tenants and the housing authority.
The housing authority’s relocation specialist, Ja’Van Smith, said several apartment complexes in the area have been responsive and “proactive” about taking in Rabbi Shulman residents.
Lamberg said she “has faith” that all residents will be relocated ahead of the March 8 deadline.
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