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Eviction concerns: Canton residents say church expansion is pushing them out

Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 6:44 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 10:34 PM CDT
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CANTON, Texas (KLTV) - Some Canton residents are worried about losing their home after a church bought their apartment complex with plans to turn it into a parking lot.

Michelle Spooner and her husband are residents of the complex and say this was the worst thing that could happen to them.

“My husband and I are both on fixed incomes we are both disabled on SSI and we are barely getting by as it is,” said Spooner.

Spooner and several other residents received an eviction notice posted on their door giving them 30 days to leave the property. Something that Spooner says blind-sided them.

“Our homes are literally being ripped from us and we didn’t see it coming we didn’t do anything wrong,” said Spooner.

We spoke to a representative from the First Baptist Church of Canton. He tells us Spooner’s landlord sold the small apartment complex to the church. This is a part of their worship center expansion which he says requires them to add additional parking which they plan to do where the apartment complex currently stands.

Part of a verbal agreement according to Bill Pollock, who was the facilitator of the deal for the church, required the landlord to incentivize the tenants who were being displaced. The incentive itself was left up to the discretion of the landlord. We reached out to the landlord and have not heard back by the news deadline. Spooner says she has not received any incentive yet and is worried that she will be without a place to live in 30 days.

“I have a car with no air conditioning and it’s hot. I have bad health problems, breathing and everything,” said Spooner. “I am afraid I am just not going to make it if I have to be on the street.”

Right now the church representative says they are only in the planning phase, they haven’t started with construction of the new worship center. The representative says they still anticipate the landlord to hold up the verbal agreement with tenants.

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