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While legal proceedings for violations continue, Big Country Chateau residents have offered assistance



Little Rock, Arkansas — Residents of Big Country Chateau have been offered assistance to help them relocate while code violation issues for the property were resolved in court on Monday.

In order to assist individuals in finding a better place to live, the city of Little Rock is working with the Metropolitan Housing Alliance and other groups, according to Kevin Howard, director of housing for the city.

“If they need to get into a hotel immediately, we have hotel vouchers, my staff will meet them at the hotel and provide them those hotel vouchers,” Howard said. “We have apartments that we’ve already reached out to and if they got a one bed room two bedroom, at that point their case manager will work all the way through to help them get permeant housing.”

According to Howard, the city has been assisting with relocation efforts for more than 10 years. They also assist with providing rental assistance to residents.

“Metropolitan Housing Alliance has emergency vouchers too that are being provided by the federal government,” Howard said. “We tap into our Emergency Solutions Grant Funding from the state that comes from the federal government and that’s how we are able to provide assistance to them.”

When the ads for residents at Big Country Chateau were first posted, Howard said that over 30 people responded and that roughly 21 applications had been processed by a group called 100 Families.

One of the three residents who gave testimony in court on Monday describing the living conditions at the flats was Phillip Harris, a resident of Big Country Chateau.

Harris claimed that his flat had experienced numerous maintenance problems that were never resolved. In reality, he claimed that before going to court, he woke up to discover his house flooded.

“[My wife] woke me up about 6 a.m. and said there was water in the bathroom floor and there was puddles of water, Harris said. ” It makes me feel like, ‘does anybody care, really’.

Harris added that he had heard that the city offered relocation assistance, but he said he was choosing not to take advantage of it because he had already secured another place.

“I am not going to stay in a hotel and leave my TVs and stuff in an apartment where people can climb through the window,” Harris said.

Big Country Chateau homeowners have until February 15 to get in touch with the Little Rock Department of Housing and Neighborhood Programs, according to Howard.

The City of Little Rock’s Deputy City Attorney, Alan Jones, said that a second hearing to go over the specific infractions discovered during the Feb. 7 code inspection will take place on Feb. 23.