More than 10 years ago, our I-Team reporter, Jeni Diprizio first exposed Memphis’ home repair program, also known as HARP.
Some of the homes in the program were not repaired correctly or at all. The Federal Government came in and demanded those homes be fixed. The program has since been shut down, but one family, years later, is still dealing with its aftermath and waiting for their home to be fixed.
Why the delay? It’s due to contract issues. The home belongs to Malinda Walls’ mother, who is 92, disabled and on a fixed income. Walls says this is a home repair nightmare that has lasted nearly five years.
Walls has been taking care of her elderly mother, Lillie Daugherty in this home for years and recently the two were placed in emergency housing because of its conditions.
“The roof is now leaking, water is coming down the wall. It smells. You can smell the mold and mildew,” Walls explained.
The home was approved for repairs through HARP back in 2012 but Walls says the work was insufficient.
“When they agreed to do the work they just want to patch. They don’t want to open up where it was really water damage and just fix it,” Walls said.
A second contractor came in to fix the problems in 2015 but Walls was not satisfied. Nearly two years later, the ceiling of the bathroom has fallen and there is water in the walls.
“There was a failure of one of the rafters, it’s not necessarily an item that was touched by the contractors, previous contractors but it was something that could be identified from them,” Paul Young, Director of Housing and Community Development in Memphis.
Young says his department tried to get a contract signed to start work on the home, but Walls says that contract does not include problems that have developed since the initial repair.
“If we couldn’t trust you to do it and this is your third time. What makes you think we can trust you now? Put it in black and white,” Walls said.
Young told us any additional issues can be addressed through an addendum to the contract. Walls and her mother have been placed in a hotel and the city has agreed to cover those costs through February 4th.
The project was originally valued at $5,000. Now the work is valued at $36,000. Walls hired an attorney that is helping her with this process.