Jan. 29, 2021
City temporarily closes Haven of Mercy due to multiple life safety code violations
The City of Johnson City Board of Dwelling Standards and Review (BDSR) on Thursday (Jan. 28) ordered the temporary closure of the building at 123 W. Millard St. following a public hearing regarding multiple building code violations. The closure of the building, which houses Haven of Mercy, requires the evacuation of approximately 70 tenants currently residing on the premises.
Johnson City Housing Authority Executive Director Richard McClain is coordinating with Appalachian Service Project, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Johnson City Downtown Day Center, Frontier Health - Turning Point, Manna House, Appalachian Regional Coalition on Homelessness and others to develop a plan to address the mental and physical wellbeing of the tenants and provide them temporary housing following the evacuation from the property.
Following a presentation Thursday night that included testimony and evidence from multiple City employees detailing fire and building code violations, the BDSR determined the structure to be unfit for human occupation since conditions exist in the two main structures that are dangerous and injurious to the health and safety of the occupants. Such conditions include defects that increased the hazards of fire, accident, or other calamities. Contributing building code violations included unpermitted electrical work.
“The decision made by the BDSR is the culmination of a nearly yearlong process of City employees working with the property owner to bring the property into compliance with City fire and building codes,” said City Attorney Sunny Sandos. “The members of the BDSR did not take this action lightly but were compelled to issue the order to protect the lives and safety of the people who reside in the building as well as the first responders who may be called to the property in the event of a medical, fire or police emergency.”
Sandos will coordinate with the property owner to set a formal evacuation date.