MEMPHIS, Tenn. — We have an update on a Whitehaven family going on 12 days without power after an arson fire in a nearby apartment cut the power at their unit.
WREG first told you Thursday about the family and the runaround they were getting to have their power restored. Friday, Problem Solver Stacy Jacobson picked up the case.
“We’ve been running out of money trying to get food every day because we have no power. We can’t get groceries to put food in the house,” Cheryl Lott said.
When a fire broke out near Lott’s unit in the Peppertree Apartments, her family of four got put out of their home. She says they only had minor damage and they’ve been back in the unit for 12 days, but their electricity has been off ever since.
“I just want the help. It’s not fair to me and my family,” Lott said.
As WREG has previously reported, Peppertree owners TESCO lost their multi-million dollar HUD contract earlier this year. The federal government is in the process of moving all the renters to other locations.
Since then, TESCO has said it’s out of funding to take care of the property, while tenants continue paying rent.
Lott says they called management for help, but management told them to call Shelby County Code Enforcement.
The Problem Solvers spent all day making calls, sending emails and trying to get to the bottom of this. Lott was right, there are a lot of groups involved.
Officials at the city, county and federal level all told the Problem Solvers that Peppertree owners TESCO should order and pay for a required safety test. That’s the only way MLGW says it can restore power.
In an email, MLGW officials said, “Our Residential Engineering department will go out and assess the damage once a work order has been created. Someone representing their company must initiate the work order process.”
But TESCO attorney Alexander Wharton says the company is not going to do that, and called the unit uninhabitable.
That makes it even more puzzling why TESCO hasn’t helped Lott find a new place.
“Just get my power back on, that’s all I’m asking,” Lott pleaded. “Right now it’s unlivable, but I have no where else to go, so I stay.”
HUD is working on relocating everyone who lives in Peppertree. Now they say they’re going to try to speed up that process to help Lott.
We also asked HUD officials whether TESCO should pay for Lott to stay in a hotel. They didn’t answer that question.