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EL housing inspectors facing ‘worst of the worst’ - Morning Journal

East Liverpool housing inspectors are finding themselves facing dire housing conditions after a slowdown during the pandemic prevented them from being able to get inside homes to inspect, said housing inspector Kayla Crowl.

“We’ve really gotten to the worst of the worst when it comes to what we are handling,” Crowl said at the city health district’s April 20 board meeting. “These aren’t [where] they have garbage outside their house. It’s never that simple anymore. It’s different than any of us have seen and I’ve been here since 2018. I know that’s not a long time but it’s long enough to see this is abnormal. We are reaching some territory here that hasn’t ever been seen before.”

During the pandemic, inspectors were not able to get into these homes which delayed the inspection process, said health commissioner Carol Cowan. “Everything slowed down during COVID.”

“We weren’t going to pressure people during that,” Crowl said. “That wasn’t even an option. So we are finally able to.”

Housing inspector Amy Toot said that often, structural safety and sanitary issues are so severe that condemnation is immediately necessary. “We are getting into homes that have never had eyes on them before,” Toot said. “Homes that have had issues for a very long time and these issues can’t be seen from the exterior of the home.”

Crowl said calls seem to be more severe than ever on a consistent basis. “This is an every call scenario now,” Crowl said. “We’re getting more and more like this.”

Eighteen homes have been condemned in the past two months, Toot said. “We had nine condemned in March, nine in April, four search warrants in the last 30 days just to get into homes that are like that that are actually occupied by people living with or without water, typically without,” Toot said. “The last three search warrants resulted in condemning the home and removing the people. It’s just becoming very very everyday.”

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