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City of Memphis updates Peppertree Apartments plans with relocation options

Future for around 1000 residents in Whitehaven complex up in the air following nuisance petition filed by DA, upcoming expired leases during court proceedings.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Tuesday afternoon, those with the City of Memphis outlined new details of how to make sure nearly 1000 people at the Peppertree Apartments in Whitehaven don't fall through the cracks and out on the streets.

Last month, Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich filed a nuisance petition at the troubled complex that - unless a court says otherwise - means current residents can't renew their lease and no new residents can move in.

For years, police and prosecutors reported constant crime challenges at the Peppertree, including shootings, robberies and drug trafficking.

The city reiterated Tuesday no tenants have been forced out and all leases are valid through the end of December, possibly longer if a judge extends.

The city's goal is twofold: making the complex for hundreds of women and children while also lining up relocation services if tenants want to go elsewhere.

"The council's primary concern are the tenants, to make sure they are safe," City of Memphis Chief Legal Officer Jennifer Sink said.

That's why those with the City of Memphis updated council members - and residents of Peppertree Apartments - on what's next for those living in the crime plagued complex in Whitehaven, with 1500 calls for service since March 2020.

"We are really working hard to make sure the property owner fixes up the facility in a place we would all want to lay their heads," City of Memphis Housing and Community Development Director said.

Last month, in an effort to force safety improvements by the Peppertree's property owner, DA Amy Weirich filed a nuisance petition which blocked any new leases or extended leases for now.

"We want it to stay open, we want it to be maintained as it should be maintained," Cash added.

Cash said informational mailers will go out Wednesday to all tenants, who are also encouraged to call 211 for any questions or assistance options.

"We do have funding related to relocation, we do have funding related to rental assistance and that's really what we are trying to do," Cash.

Still, Cash admitted Tuesday it will be a challenge to move residents and keep their rent the same, since all of the complex's units are federally subsidized.

That's the worry residents expressed to ABC24 News last month.

"I can't go anywhere else, if I go anywhere else, it will be like $700, $800 a month or more," Peppertree resident Connie Huddleston said.

"I think that's something we would have to work on a case by case basis," Cash said Tuesday. "We do have the funding available that is flexible to support either relocation rent for a period of time."

ABC24 News left a message with Peppertree's Germantown based property management company Tuesday afternoon but did not hear back.

Last week, at a court hearing, the attorney representing the property manager said management reached out to Memphis Police last year asking for extra assistance.

The proceedings are now scheduled to move to federal court.

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