Cleaning up the mess in Durant

By: Daniel Gotera Email
By: Daniel Gotera Email

DURANT, Okla. -- In January, residents of the Crescent Creek Apartments in Durant were told they had to leave their homes. Then, they were told the Department of Housing and Urban Development would give them vouchers to allow them to stay, but for those vouchers to work the apartments have to meet certain safety standards. It’s something many residents now claim is a problem. Daniel Gotera has more.

Two weeks ago, residents were up in arms about losing rental assistance from HUD. Now some are upset about the condition of their apartments. It’s something they say apartment management should help them take care of.

"It’s gotten me madly upset and instead of being angry I feel that something ought to be done about this."

Scott Buckman and his family moved to Durant back in October. He says he likes the city; it's his home that has become a problem.

"This morning I got up and there was four inches of water in the apartment. My wife got out of bed because she heard the water running she slipped and fell face-down in it, and it was all sewage," Buckman says.

In fact it was so bad Buckman says when he opened the front door, sewage poured out of his apartment. But the leak didn’t just happen overnight. It’s a problem he's been dealing with for the past week, and it wasn't until he called the city he says that the issue was taken care of.

"My job is for apartment complexes to meet the minimum standard code," City of Durant building official Joseph Marquardt says.

Marquardt is the building official for the City of Durant and says he received a call Friday morning from Buckman alerting him of the problem.

By the afternoon, maintenance crews were at Buckman's home cleaning up the mess.

"If they do not meet with the international building codes or the housing and development codes that’s when we take effect and take action and follow due process."

Officials with housing and urban development told KXII-TV on Friday they broke the housing assistance program contract with the property owner in January because of the poor condition of the units. They revised that decision to allow residents to receive vouchers from the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency only if the apartment passes a housing quality standard inspection.

"There needs to be a lot of changes around here and I’m hoping they get addressed. I do not want people to lose their homes. I do not."

If the units do not pass, families are allowed to use the vouchers at other apartments.

Buckman says that’s difficult for a lot of families, and a better response to maintenance issues would help.

"That’s what I want, I mean I have always paid my rent every month and to me that ought to be at the top of the list."

Crews are in the process of cleaning up the Buckman's apartment. In the meantime the family has been moved to another unit.

Officials with the apartment complex say they try and get to each problem as quick as possible.

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  • by Debbie Location: Durant on Feb 5, 2008 at 01:30 PM
    Im so sick of hearing about these peoples problems. You'd think they are the only ones on earth that has sorrows.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 5, 2008 at 11:24 AM
    IF you don't live there than don't worry about it
  • by anonymous Location: Durant on Feb 4, 2008 at 11:58 AM
    These apartments are infamous for drugs and filth and need to be demolished. There are other HUD apartments in Durant available with a much better reputation. Living at the "Villa" is an easy way out and gives residents a few more bucks to spend on drugs. Why live somewhere decent when you can live next door to your drug deeler for $40 a month?!
  • by Help not Hate Location: TX, Formerly Durant on Feb 4, 2008 at 11:43 AM
    Now working in an environment that we are trying to help poverty environments, and reading some of these comments really sadden me. Yes, we want these people to live in better, but to some people this is all they know. They have lived like this for generations. Some of them are doing the best they can as well. I think that we need to cut them some slack, and get them some help. One great way is to educate the people living there. When they find that there is better out there, and we educate them to make them hirable for jobs that will get them out of this situation. We should be helping...not pointing fingers!
  • by TX Location: Texas on Feb 4, 2008 at 10:13 AM
    Anonymous, Im sure you are the exception to what has been shown about this place so far. Good for you for trying to better yourself and good luck.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 4, 2008 at 09:54 AM
    Not everyone who lives or has lived in those apartments are trash thank you very much. I was going to school full time and working full time and part time at two separate locations. I could only work at a burger joint for $6 an hour because they were the only employees that would hire me and go around my school and other job schedule at the time. It was hard to make rent and other bills and get back and forth to work and class. I did what I had to do in order to make it. Don't just judge someone because of where they stay, dig a lil deeper before being so judgemental.
  • by TX Location: Texas on Feb 4, 2008 at 06:12 AM
    Somebody needs to tell that dude he doesnt need 12 exention cords plugged in when water is standing in his apartment. Another good reason to get out and get a job in order to get a better place to live.
  • by ashamed to be from durant Location: durant on Feb 3, 2008 at 05:36 PM
    one more for the filth in durant. why don't you people move out to a better section of town. or is it that you don't want to have to pay your own rent. why put your family in a place that is that nasty in the first place. when is the state going to stand up and get involved. maybe someone is getting a kickback from someone. there has to be a reason why this keeps going on. i would move my family to another town if i had to. wake up america
  • by Anonymous Location: formerly Durant on Feb 3, 2008 at 01:27 PM
    yeah these apartments have needed tore down for awile. i feel sorry for the surrounding houses when they do, millions of cockroaches will need a new place to stay as well.
  • by Plainview Rulz Location: Plainview Road on Feb 1, 2008 at 11:14 PM
    This story is so gross. How can Durant people live like that? Why doesnt Mr Buckman use his confederate flag to wipe up that waste, since thats all its good for? And why does the Durant building official use an out of date building code book that had 2003 on it? Oh, I forgot, its Durant.
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