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Peppertree resident stuck in limbo as she tries to find new place to live

“Everything is at a standstill. Everything is at a standstill, and I refuse to go backwards,” said Delories Clemons, a Peppertree resident.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It has been months since the US Department of Housing and Urban Development cut ties with Peppertree Apartments in Whitehaven. The deadline for residents to enter the voluntary relocation program has passed.

While some were able to meet that deadline, there are others who said they could not. One resident who said miscommunication is the center of the problem.

It is important to understand that the voucher eligibility and relocation eligibility are two different processes. Memphis Housing Authority handles the voucher process and Leumas is helping Peppertree residents with relocation; however, one resident said she’s caught in the middle.

“Everything is at a standstill. Everything is at a standstill, and I refuse to go backwards,”  said Delories Clemons, a Peppertree resident. 

It has been a struggle to move forward for Clemons. She is supported by disability and has been in and out the hospital.

“For the last two and half months, I’ve been getting the runaround. The two companies, Leumas and Memphis Housing Authority, are apparently not communicating with each other,” said Clemons.

Since the US Department of Housing and Urban Development parted ways with Peppertree Apartments, residents had until June 6th to enter into the voluntary relocation program, but Clemons has been hitting a wall. 

“I’m getting one set of information from housing authority saying that my voucher has been denied,” said Clemons. “They said it was denied because of my daughter’s income, but my daughter doesn’t live with me ... I have a copy of my lease showing that I’m the only one on my lease.”

On the other hand, she was told something different from Leumas. 

“My Leumas representative is telling me that my application is still pending,” said Clemons.

In April, Leumas sent a letter stating that Clemons needed a request for Tenancy Approval Form and a statement from her prospective landlord in order to enter the relocation program. Clemons said she can’t have an agreement with a prospective landlord because she doesn’t know her voucher amount. 

“I submitted an application for a house, but when it got to a point where the amount on the voucher and the information on it, I was stuck,” said Clemons.

In the meantime, Clemons is making sure she is doing everything she can in her current situation. 

“I am still paying my rent through this process.”

She said she pays her rent despite having housing issues. 

“I have respiratory issues and I have water that’s sitting in my hallway,” said Clemons. “I’ve got gnats that flying all around the apartment. I’ve got roaches. I’ve got mice now. I didn’t have these things at first. They’re not providing any pest control.”

While Clemons struggles to find answers, her question is simple. 

“I’m being supported by disability. Why disability is not enough to move me out of here, when disability was enough to get me in here, I don’t understand,” said Clemons.

HUD told us that Leumas would reach out to Memphis Housing Authority on behalf of Ms. Clemons. She said Leumas did call, but she still doesn’t have an update on her voucher amount.

HUD said a total of 203 households have been interviews. A total of 188 vouchers have been issued and 21 residents are still waiting.

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