'These people need help': Community groups shine light on west Windsor apartment living conditions

Crystal White’s concern for her son’s living conditions is obvious.

“They need help,” she says. “They can’t do laundry. They can’t cook. It’s not even liveable.”

Her son, Dylan has lived at River Place on Detroit Street in Windsor’s west end for two and a half years.

“It’s dirty, there’s stuff all over the floor, the bathrooms haven’t been cleaned in weeks,” Dylan White says.

Recent attention from many groups shining a spotlight on this building and its living conditions has led the city to step in.

“These people need help,” says Ashley Shepley of Community Connections. “This is a cry to the community. This is not good living conditions.”

City of Windsor’s chief building official John Revell says the building department has been partnering with social services housing, the fire department, Windsor police and bylaw enforcement to try and help.

“It came to our attention recently water that the water wasn’t working in the building and the fire alarm system wasn’t working so we issued orders yesterday to restore those two systems for basic health and safety of the occupants,” he says.

One of the two issues have been fulfilled, as the water has since been restored.

However, tenants are still facing issues as squatters come and go.

“Last night I was watching people who don’t live here come in one by one to find a place to sleep and they can just open the doors and come in,” says Ashley Shepley.

Lawyer Michael Thiele who represents the building’s owner says his client has been overwhelmed by purposeful damage to every part of the building.

“Anything that is fixed shortly thereafter destroyed again and anything of value is stolen,” he says in a statement. “The owner has reached out to every conceivable agency and public authority for help. No one is stepping forward to contain what is happening here.”

Now, tenants say eviction notices have been issued.

“We all got one saying we have to be out by Oct. 31,” Dylan says.

He would like to see everyone get the support they need.

“I’ll be happy when I’m out of here,” Dylan says. “It’ll be a lot better.”