Their home red-tagged, family of 7 living in shelter

2011-04-04T00:00:00Z 2013-12-12T13:11:26Z Their home red-tagged, family of 7 living in shelterALISHA WYMAN Napa Valley Register
April 04, 2011 12:00 am  • 

A Napa family of seven is living in a shelter after their rental was deemed uninhabitable earlier this month.

Napa Code Enforcement has issued a compliance order to the property owner, including a laundry list of problems with the home on the 1300 block of Brown Street.

Inspectors found lack of heating, excessive moisture and mold throughout, accumulation of solid waste around the exterior of the building, dry rot, missing electrical plates, rodent infestation and other issues.

They also inspected another rental on the property and ordered fixes to its illegal basement bathroom, missing or broken windows, and heating and air conditioning without permits, according to the order.

The property owner, S. George Alimpic, has 45 days to make the improvements or face fines.

The city’s goal is to make sure the property is up to code, not to punish the property owner, said Tina Chechourka, a Napa code enforcement officer.

“People deserve to have habitable space with heat and no moisture in the house,” she said.

The Register was unable to reach Alimpic.

Meanwhile, the former residents of the home are struggling to find a new place to live, said Christy, who lived with there with her husband, a vineyard worker, and their five children, include a newborn. She asked her last name not be used so that her children, who attend Napa schools, not be identified.

Christy and her family moved into the house in August of 2009, she said. The place was unfinished, but Alimpic agreed to make the upgrades after she moved in. Her rent was $1,000 a month, she said.

The renovations were never completed, and after the rains arrived that fall, she began to notice mold growing in the home and other problems cropping up, she said.

Recently, the family looked for a new place to rent. Christy approached Fair Housing Napa Valley on March 10 to see if they could help find assistance for her to pay a nearly $3,000 deposit on a new place she had found.

During her interview with Fair Housing, she mentioned mold and other issues with her current rental.

Sherrie Brooks, housing specialist, said she connected Christy with Napa County’s Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Prevention program. Brooks and another Fair Housing specialist, Elaine Jojola-Sharp, arranged to do an inspection March 15.

Brooks found that the home had no heat, no working locks and mold growing.

“I was disgusted,” Brooks said. “The mold was so bad that when I left my chest hurt.”

They reported the problems to code enforcement that day.

“Our main goal was, first of all, get the family out of an uninhabitable situation,” Jojola-Sharp said.

The next day, they met Chechourka at the property. They arrived to find that a worker had torn out the wallboard in one of the back rooms of the residence, Brooks said.

Chechourka red-tagged the residence for work done without a permit.

In the meantime, Christy and her family were unable to move into their new rental because the tenants there extended their lease, Christy said.

Brooks and Jojola-Sharp told Alimpic that he was obligated to put up Christy and her family in a hotel room until she had a new place to live.

After some resistance, Alimpic agreed to pay for a room and purchased some clothing for the family’s children, Brooks said. He also gave her a letter stating she was a good tenant to help her find a new home, she said.

Alimpic stopped paying for the hotel room after five days, and the family — with children ages 10, 6, 5, 14-months and a 3-week-old — was forced to move into Napa’s family shelter, said Christy’s Santa Rosa-based attorney, Ethan A. Glaubiger.

Christy worries that living in the shelter will reflect poorly on her as she seeks to find a new home, Glaubiger said.

Jojola-Sharp said the shelter has programs that Christy can pursue to help connect her with a new living situation. Fair Housing will continue to follow up with code enforcement and the family.

Christy said she is grateful for a place to stay, but feels like her family’s life has been uprooted.

She and her husband figure that they can afford to pay as much as $1,300 in rent, but they are also struggling to replace many of their personal possessions that have been abandoned because of mold concerns.

“I know there are other people in Japan who are in worse conditions,” she said. “At least I have somewhere to stay, but it’s just really hard.”

“We are just starting over,” she said. “We have nothing.”�

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(35) Comments

  1. mommaof3
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    mommaof3 - April 04, 2011 7:18 am
    I am so very sorry to this family. that being said... This is PRECISELY why I will not report my slum... I mean landlord...

    To the family affected... There are a lot of great things on freecycle that are in great condition. I have given away wonderful things that we simply do not need anymore. If you would like I could post on there for you and collect the items needed. You can respond here with your kids clothing sizes and other basics you may need. I may even have things here for you. Good luck to you... let me know.
  2. Locust55
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    Locust55 - April 04, 2011 9:03 am
    mommaof3 - If she doesn't have computer access you'll need to contact her in a different way.
  3. Napa Microbiologist
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    Napa Microbiologist - April 04, 2011 10:40 am
    This is exactly why one SHOULD report their slum lord. Its a shame to compromise children's health due to the poor environmental conditions in which the owner or renter allows to occur. Properties such as this can cause acute and long term health effects to the occupants. Please educate yourself before compromising your health and your children's health. http://www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm

    Great work inspectors.
  4. Coffebeat
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    Coffebeat - April 04, 2011 1:37 pm
    If that picture is any indication I can't believe the family stayed in that place for so long. Horrible. I hope she is able to find another place soon.
  5. best nana
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    best nana - April 04, 2011 1:45 pm
    Yes freecycle is a great resource and you can use the computers at the library. One thing I don't understand, the house has not been in good condition since the family moved in but still they had two children while living there. Not very good choices were made. Good luck in finding a new place.
  6. jeepracer10
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    jeepracer10 - April 04, 2011 4:03 pm
    Move to a cheaper area. You could get a decent placein Vallejo for $1000. Or if you dont want to move do what I did and work 2 jobs to pay the bills. I only have one kid, but hey thats all I can afford. Never had anyone pay for my deposit or any other financial assistance.
  7. valligirl
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    valligirl - April 04, 2011 5:37 pm
    Family of seven? Time for birth control. How much public assistance do you receive? Seriously!
  8. iamfalconer
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    iamfalconer - April 04, 2011 6:05 pm
    valligirl said: "Family of seven? Time for birth control. How much public assistance do you receive? Seriously!" Early this morning I added a comment very much like yours, but mine I guess was just too rough for a news story that was bent on bringing a 'so sad' response from all the readers. Yes, this is public dole and all the consequences that come with it. Like too many kids, food stamps, government housing...people, try looking at this story again with open eyes and not so much open hearts.

  9. mommaof3
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    mommaof3 - April 04, 2011 6:39 pm
    valligirl & iamfalconer ... Why so quick to assume that they are on finacial assistance because they have a large family? I have a large family and I am not recieving welfare! That is rude and uncalled for! The deposits on homes are outrageous! This loser of a landlord should be giving this family back ALL the rent they have given him since they moved in! He is responcible for paying for thier relocation!

    Napa Microbiologist... I already know that information and my house is not in such significant disrepair. My landlord is a slumlord but I was blessed with a fantastic father that owns a contracting company and will fix things for me or we do it ourselves. I also contacted the tenants rights and appearantly in teh state of CA it is NOT illegal to have mold... they do not have to remove it... but they DO have to fix what is CAUSING the mold.

    Locust55 ... How? They are not naming them... do you have info?
  10. myopinion73
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    myopinion73 - April 04, 2011 7:30 pm
    Sad that some are so quick to jump to conclusions. I don't recall anywhere in the article that stated this family was receiving public assistance. It is all to often that those who feel superior to the less fortunate are quick to judge them and make assumptions such as these. It's hard enough to find affordable housing in Napa, when you are lucky enough to find a home unfortunately it comes at a cost, that being substandard conditions. Often times lower income families will overlook the substandard conditions of a home just to be able to have one. Hopefully this family will be able to find a new home quickly. Keep your heads up and be proud of yourselves for finding the courage to stand up for what's right- safe, healthy, livable housing!
  11. NAPA66
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    NAPA66 - April 04, 2011 11:12 pm
    I feel bad for this families situation, but I'm sure they must of known living in Napa is very expensive. I agree it is nice to have a large family, but when you are faced with these financial constraints, why keep having children? I was not aware that Fair Housing gave deposits for housing. Good luck to these people, but please live within your means. I didn't know vineyard workers made so much.
  12. Mouse_Nose
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    Mouse_Nose - April 05, 2011 12:54 am
    For some reason, my comment similar to Valligirl's got deleted. I'm not being overly harsh. I'm simply looking at this situation realistically. I don't understand why so many people keep having children when they are obviously struggling financially. It's not fair to the child to bring a child into this world when the parents are struggling, and obviously may not be able to afford caring for the child. Not fair to taxpayers either, IF gov't assistance is subsidizing it. It's all about choices.
  13. notsurprised
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    notsurprised - April 05, 2011 1:29 am
    I'm thinking that the big challenge here is that this is a family of 7... There are a lot of rentals in Napa around $1000 if all you need is a 1 or 2 bedroom.
    @Mommaof3 and myopinion73- Explain to me how, if you have a family of 7, you can only afford a max of $1300 rent if you are not receiving some sort of financial assistance? Honestly people, even $1300/mo is NOT going to buy any sort of home/apartment for that size of family in this valley!
  14. republicrat1
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    republicrat1 - April 05, 2011 7:13 am
    You commenters...why do you continue to accept poor reporting by this paper. You all complain about of not having all the information, complain like I have. There is a lack of serious quality reporting or you would not be making these comments.
  15. jeepracer10
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    jeepracer10 - April 05, 2011 7:47 am
    mommaof3 and myopinion73:
    How can you say the article says nothing about financial assistance,"Christy approached Fair Housing Napa Valley on March 10 to see if they could help find assistance for her to pay a nearly $3,000 deposit on a new place she had found." I think that qualifies.
  16. myopinion73
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    myopinion73 - April 05, 2011 8:59 am
    @ notsurprised- maybe the reason they can only afford 1300/mo is because they are living on one income rather than two. There is no crime in having a lower income and a larger family. You do have to do some juggling, but it can be done, all while not being on public assistance. There are many ways that a family can make a dollar stretch, all while not compromising the children. The problem is that many people these days have become so accustomed to living outside their means that they think everyone else does the same.
    Let's not lose focus of the article, a landlord not holding up his end of the deal. The tenant pays the rent, regardless of family size. The landlord is obligated to provide safe, healthy, livable housing conditions!
  17. myopinion73
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    myopinion73 - April 05, 2011 9:29 am
    @ jeepracer10- let me clarify for you what I mean, when I say public assistance I am referring to welfare. Asking for one time assistance with the deposit on a new home is a far cry from receiving monthly welfare checks.
  18. notanapanative
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    notanapanative - April 05, 2011 9:40 am
    There are 2 parts to this story:

    Part 1 : Landlord NOT living up to his responsibilities - action taken, building red tagged, landlord should be responsible for reasonable relocation expenses, not sure why the family is in a shelter when the landlord is responsible for relocation costs?

    NVR any information?

    Part 2 : Family of 7 unable to find housing in Napa for $1300 per month.
    Non story, Napa is an expensive place to live and public assistance should NOT help people live in a place they cannot afford. Move to Vallejo or Vacaville if you need cheaper rent.

    Public funds should NOT be wasted to pay for people CHOICES vs. true NEEDS.

    If you choose to have 5 children, you cannot expect to live in a high rent district like Napa, on a vineyard workers wage.

    To expect to easily find a house for $1300 a month in Napa is NOT a realistic expectation.

    Time to move to somewhere more affordable.
  19. Mouse_Nose
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    Mouse_Nose - April 05, 2011 10:09 am
    Myopinion73 says, "There is no crime in having a lower income and a larger family."

    True, technically not a crime. But it's irresponsible and constitutes poor choices, especially living in a place like Napa that's expensive to live in, when you're income is low and you decide to grow your family. Much of the time, taxpayer dollars assist huge families in their poor choices (the poor choice of growing a family when money is tight to begin with). The children often suffer from huge families combined with low income. It costs way more to properly care for and raise a child than you make it sound, even when you cut out all unnecessary expenditures (ie: luxuries) in life. There's no two ways about it!
  20. sotto voce
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    sotto voce - April 05, 2011 1:50 pm
    @mommaof3 states that security deposits are "outrageous". There is a good reason for this: bad credit, insufficient income to rent ratio, unmistakable signs of "Trouble Ahead" with bad landlord references or an eviction on record. Sometimes it is so bad that even with the maximum deposit allowed by law, a prudent landlord will refuse an applicant.

    On the other hand, some applicants pay only a nominal security deposit.

    Not rocket science to figure this out, really!
  21. mommaof3
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    mommaof3 - April 05, 2011 10:21 pm
    We WERE a 2 income house,until my husband had a serious knee injury and required surgery. On the exact day he was to return to work his employer laid him off. He has been searching for work since! So this for all the rocket scientists commenting on this post. Having kids when you HAVE $ is a far cry from your life crumbling beneath your feet. Oh and I said I have a large family,not 5 kids,read my screen name? But we have 4 kids together through marriage NOT because we just kept getting pregnant. In fact my husband has had a vasectomy! Plz refrain from making factless assumptions. Families CAN afford rent and not deposits ya know? I understand bad credit and all that but it is not hard to figure out that some people just need a helping hand occasionally. Have none of you borrowed from parents? friends? Why is it that a fellow poor person like myself is willing to rally to help this family in need and not the ones that can AFFORD to help? You cannot take the $ with you. DONATE!
  22. mommaof3
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    mommaof3 - April 05, 2011 10:22 pm
    myopinion73 said: "@ notsurprised- maybe the reason they can only afford 1300/mo is because they are living on one income rather than two. There is no crime in having a lower income and a larger family. You do have to do some juggling, but it can be done, all while not being on public assistance. There are many ways that a family can make a dollar stretch, all while not compromising the children. The problem is that many people these days have become so accustomed to living outside their means that they think everyone else does the same.Let's not lose focus of the article, a landlord not holding up his end of the deal. The tenant pays the rent, regardless of family size. The landlord is obligated to provide safe, healthy, livable housing conditions! "


    Thank you... well said.
  23. shadylady17
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    shadylady17 - April 06, 2011 3:20 pm
    You can have 5 children if you can support them....housing, food, clothing, medical, dental, the basic necessities, etc. But, don't expect to live off my tax dollars.
  24. wowquebonita
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    wowquebonita - April 06, 2011 3:36 pm
    Disappointed my previous comment wasn't posted. I'd love to see this story on Facebook so I can express my true feelings regarding this story.
  25. notanapanative
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    notanapanative - April 06, 2011 4:42 pm
    momma of 3,

    You ask why those that can afford to donate are complaining while those that cannot don't?

    It is because those that can afford to, already do thru a series of never ending tax increases and fees.

    It is because they get demonized for being successful and earning more.

    It is because many (not all) of those asking for $ have only themselves to blame for their situation.

    Yet all demand help.

    It is no longer a case of people quietly asking for help, but rather a shrill entitled cry of "you have something I want, give it to me NOW!".

    That is why many are saying enough, take care of yourself, you live with the consequences of your decisions, I will live with mine.

    Where is the discussion of personal responsibility?

    What about consequences for bad decisions and actions?

    Why are those never acknowledged?

    Why is it always "I am owed this", "I deserve that", "this is my RIGHT" never a single word about THEIR responsibilities.

    THAT is why you are seeing this reaction.
  26. wowquebonita
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    wowquebonita - April 06, 2011 11:15 pm
    notanapanative...LOVE your comment! Exactly what's on my mind, but so passionate and angry the register won't post my comments.

    I'd rather donate money to the animal shelter.
  27. mommaof3
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    mommaof3 - April 07, 2011 7:08 am
    Okay fair arguement... but I am rich with love and memories. I am not demanding anything. Someday you could be without anything through no direct fault of your own and maybe then you will have a little compassion. Until then enjoy your money and your life. You have earned it. This is precisely why the world is in such bad disorder. Lack of compassion and good will towards others. Whether it is time or money or simply love you are passing on. It all helps in the big picture.
  28. Grits56
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    Grits56 - April 07, 2011 8:52 am
    notanative's comments as to the reasons for some reactions are quite correct. However, when those who pay for everything begin to express their frustration, they are called mean, uncompassionate, you name it...only because they keep being asked for more and more! That they can't afford...

    My parents had 5 kids in 7 years. Had working mom before there was ever such a thing - NO free lunch, NO welfare, NO Medicaid - didn't have much, but what we had we worked for. Used to work myself to help bring in money.

    I don't want someone asking "What if you can't"? We lived within our means, and were teased for our clothes, house, etc. But that's life sometimes..we were poor even in the South..but we didn't expect anyone to take on our responsibilities for us.
  29. Grits56
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    Grits56 - April 07, 2011 9:10 am
    And one can not deny the fact that there has developed a sense of entitlement among those asking for help...
  30. notanapanative
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    notanapanative - April 07, 2011 9:20 am
    mom3,
    Although I am opposed to endless social welfare programs I am not lacking in either donated time or money.
    I spent 3 years volunteering with a local charity, and routinely donate money to other local charities.
    I make sure that I donate to people and causes I deem worthy. Ex: Disabled people who are medically (diseases) disabled or from accidents, NOT thru drugs or alcohol.
    People who have lost their jobs due to down sizing, not because they were fired for absenteeism.
    I apply a reasonableness test, did this person bring their situation on themselves?
    If yes no money or help will be forthcoming (from me).
    The other thing that is important to me is if the person understands that "society" doesn't owe them anything other than the right to live their lives.
    If someone comes to me with a sense of entitlement rather than a sense of personal responsibility, I will walk away
    I have many wonderful memories of people and groups I have donated to, but none from endless welfare programs.
  31. myopinion73
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    myopinion73 - April 07, 2011 12:21 pm
    This article states that the family asked for help from the fair housing board with a deposit on a new home, one that is safe, healthy, and livable. It doesn't say anything about them asking for or feeling entitled to anything else. Everyone at some point in life needs a helping hand. The real point of the article is that the landlord expected rent for a home that was not up to livable standards. No family large or small should have to put up with a landlord that doesn't provide what is required by fair housing as livable housing. If the tenant pays the agreed upon rent for housing then the landlord should provide livable housing, which it appears that he did not. And to top it all off this isn't his only property that had issues there was another rental that he received citings for mentioned in the article. So let's ease up on this family a little, and hope that they can quickly find a new home.
  32. notanapanative
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    notanapanative - April 07, 2011 3:09 pm
    myopin,

    If you read my earlier comments you will notice that I asked why the landlord wasn't paying for them to stay in a hotel. I think that he is obligated to for the very fact that he was collecting rent and the home is not inhabitable.

    However, where do you think the money comes from for Fair housing?

    I rather suspect it is taxpayer funded.

    Many comments, mine included were simply pointing out that if it were you or I we would pack up and move to Vallejo or Vacaville where rents are much cheaper rather than asking for a handout from the taxpayer.

    We all have choices to make, why is it that so many people feel entitled to ask for taxpayer money instead of doing the obvious and taking responsibility for their own situation and living within their means.

    Deposits are a fact of life if you rent, if you have bad credit or have pets you will need to pay more, why not move to a lower rent area where you can pay for everything yourself without having to use taxpayer funds?
  33. Napanative1969
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    Napanative1969 - April 07, 2011 7:21 pm
    I have to agree with notanapanative. I feel compassion for many people in these hard times. I've seen a lot of good, hard working people suffer and lose their jobs, homes, sense of pride etc. and it's very tough. However, this article states that they have a newborn baby which is child #5 for these people. They had it since they already lived in this substandard housing. While I do feel sympathetic towards them, especially their children, they are clearly making a lot of poor choices repeatedly. I had two children because that's what I felt I could afford without lowering my family's lifestyle below what we are happy with and we have done what it takes to make our own way and pay for ourselves and our children. We also donate to charity often. What's maddening is that we are being squeezed on all sides by higher taxes, more government programs, higher cost for goods and services and less income. Quality of life is being eroded and when you finally say "enough" you are labeled uncaring.
  34. mommaof3
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    mommaof3 - April 08, 2011 7:27 am
    notanapanative
    I agree with everything you said. That is my same outlook. I believe that people should try best they can to stay off of welfare. Sometimes it is not avoidable. It is thier for a reason and if the only help these folks need is a deposit to be in a sanitary environment then they are doing great. Also, if all the poor people moved out of napa thier would be no one left to do all the jobs that the rich folk are too good for but still need to function i.e. taking your gas money. those jobs DO NOT pay enough to survive and if they cannot live in Napa and afford life what makes you think they will move out of town and commute here to wait on the ones that do not want us here?
  35. notanapanative
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    notanapanative - April 09, 2011 8:26 am
    Napanative,

    I agree 100%!

    I must say my biggest shock when I moved to California was how entitled folks feel when it comes to wealth and money.

    I have been repeatedly left speechless by comments people make either in discussions or in the paper on how "society" and the taxpayer owes them this or that.

    Everyone in the US has far greater OPPORTUNITY at class mobility and wealth than virtually anywhere else in the world, yet rather than work hard to achieve it, they demand it from the taxpayer. And worse they demand that others not work so hard to get nice things (band trip controversy), because they don't have them, and aren't willing to work to get them.

    I must say that in spite of how much I loved Napa, I am much happier now that I moved out of state where there is a much lower sense of entitlement (still more than the rest of the world, but far less than Cali).

    Oh and I LOVE the lower taxes!

    I loved living in Napa, but am glad I left.
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