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Phoenix police bust up two suspected slums run by same person

(Phoenix Police Department Photo)

PHOENIX — Phoenix police officers took control of two apartment complexes Thursday after the person who owned them was accused of being a slumlord.

Sgt. Vince Lewis with Phoenix police said the complexes — one located near Roosevelt Street and Interstate 10, the other near Central Avenue and Osborn Road — had “unhealthy, undesirable” living conditions.

Lewis said the properties displayed signs of infestations, construction and modification done without permits and were generally unsafe. They were occupied primarily by about 40 vulnerable adults or those with mental illness.

The complexes were owned by Rooming, Inc. and Lewis said one person had been detained.

A website listing nonprofits said Rooming, Inc. has a mission statement to provide “a safe haven for men, women and children who are homeless due to being on a fixed income or have a mental or physical challenge. Help families to live independently while maintaining their dignity and self worth at all times.”

Lewis said occupants were allegedly required to sign some of their benefits over to Rooming, Inc. when they moved in.

“They would sign over their Social Security benefits and their EBT benefits,” he said.

Lewis accused the owner of storing occupants’ medications in the offices of the complexes and some services — such as bathing services — were set up by each complex.

Lewis said police seized any medications allegedly stored in the office as evidence. Numerous charities and groups were on the scene to assist residents.

KTAR’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report.

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