Meridian, Miss. Major changes are on the way for Stevenson Landmark Apartments, currently provide housing for people who are elderly and/or disabled.
Those residents are now being forced to move out because of changes that the owner, Multi-County Community Service Agency, says must be made. Some said they were only given two weeks' notice.
It was almost twenty years ago when the old Stevenson School at 1011 25th Avenue was converted into an apartment complex by MCCSA.
"We've had very minimum rent over at those apartments, so it's been very difficult to maintain," says MCCSA Interim Director Angela Hicks.
Hicks says for a number of years more than half of the building's 42 apartments have not been occupied. Most of those are on the lower level.
MCCSA officials stopped filling those units due to safety concerns about uninvited outsiders coming inside the building.
"They were breaking into the apartments," says Hicks. "So, that was a safety issue that we were concerned about. And we had to board up these doors. That's part of the plan, to make the entire site more secure and have security on site."
With a plan to officially close the building on August 31st, Hicks says MCCSA is taking steps to help the residents in the 18 affected apartments relocate.
"We have secured some funds so that we can help them to relocate, to pay any moving expenses," says Hicks. "I've had staff available to work with these clients, to help them find apartments. If they need transportation, or whatever their needs are, they just have to call our staff and let them know."
The estimated cost to renovate the inside of the building is roughly a $500,000. Because it once was a high school, and is historic, the plan is to secure some funding through the Department of Archives and History to completely upgrade the outside of the building as well.
Once it reopens, MCCSA officials say the apartments will be priced at or near market value. Work on the inside of the building is expected to start by October and be finished by July 2015.