‘I was this close to ending my life’: Former TEH Realty tenants face mountain of struggles finding new homes

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Residents of Nob Hill Apartments in South KC have just weeks left to pay up or get kicked out. The units are owned by troubled TEH Realty, which has come under fire nationwide for deplorable living conditions at its properties.  

Many who have lived in TEH Realty properties, including Nob Hill, have called it a living hell.

"Never seen something so horribly run in my life," resident Michael Childs said.

Bad plumbing, no AC, no heat and no repairs by management are just some of the concerns.  The situation became so dire, the housing authority announced it would no longer pay vouchers to subsidize rent for Nob Hill residents.  That leaves tenants with the choice of facing eviction or paying market rent rates, which many cannot afford.  

Michael Childs felt helpless and hopeless.

"I was this close to ending my life because my mind was playing tricks on me. 'Oh you're not going to get out of this. Ain't nobody going to help you,'" Childs said.

But Childs said that a call to FOX4's Problem Solvers changed everything. A former neighbor saw our story and told him about an available apartment.

"They have saved my life. They opened up the door. They gave me a reason to want to live," Childs said.

He now has a lease in hand and plans to move out next week.  Jewish Family Services and the VA are helping with the security deposit and moving costs.

"Welcome home, Michael. I slept with the paperwork and just cried like a baby and said, 'Well God, thank you,'" Childs said.  

Though his situation is looking up, he said he is still worried about those left behind. There are 82 other families facing the same problem he was. Some of them are still uncertain where they will be living in a month.

"Something needs to be done to get these families housed. Get them moved," Childs said.

Local non-profits like the Community Assistance Council are helping.

"We want to help families get a fresh start," Rachel Casey, executive director of the Community Assistance Council, said.

CAC has already helped 10 families get out of Nob Hill, and they have 20 more applications in the pipeline. They've also got food, clothing, bedding and diapers for families.  Local generosity is helping, but donations are still needed.

"We appreciate the community stepping up to help their neighbors, but this need is going to continue for quite some time," Casey said.

The need really is dire. There's a severe shortage of Section 8 approved housing, especially in south Kansas City, for families wanting to keep their kids in Hickman Mills Schools.

If you'd like to help the Community Assistance Council, you can designate donations for Nob Hill families and learn more, here

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