A sign advertises a home for rent Monday in South Bend. Tribune Photo/SANTIAGO FLORES
A sign advertises a home for rent Monday in South Bend. Tribune Photo/SANTIAGO FLORES
SOUTH BEND -- The city’s new rental housing inspection program has underscored the need for more safe, affordable housing, the city’s code enforcement director told common council members Monday.

Tracy Skibins, updating the council on how implementation of the initiative has gone in its first three months, said 108 of 132 rental units inspected so far, or 84 percent, failed. That’s likely not a surprise since the program started with inspections of rentals that code enforcement already had open violation files on, along with units where children have shown high blood lead levels.

As those numbers grow, so will the challenge of finding alternative housing for displaced tenants, officials said.

At their regular committee meetings Monday, Skibins showed council members photos of some violations found during inspections.

“We do it because we run across issues like this and nobody should have to live in these types of conditions,” she said. “We do it for the single working mom of four who’s living in these conditions right here, we do it for the veteran who can’t get assistance from their landlord and is just living in a totally unsafe situation, and we do it for a person who’s displaced and forced to live out of a car with her young child until she can find safe housing.”

When rentals fail inspections, the nonprofit St. Vincent de Paul has been paying to temporarily house tenants in the Suburban Extended Stay Hotel on Indiana 933.

The city has condemned three homes. Shelby McGowan, who manages the program for the city, told council members of one condemnation that resulted from a tenant’s complaint.
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