JOPLIN, Mo. — Residents in two Joplin apartment complexes have to find a new place to live, and they don’t have a lot of time to do so.

The city has ordered occupants to vacate these two buildings at 117 and 121 South Byers Avenue by next month.

“These violations go back many years, we’ve been working with the landlord for many years on a variety of different issues,” said Tony Robyn, Joplin Assistant City Manager.

Robyn said efforts to get the owner, David Carey, to bring the structures back up to code, date back a decade.

Robyn said conditions have become progressively worse over time.

The latest round of citations and violations were issued in October but were ignored, which led to a follow-up inspection in December.

“There was no significant progress on those issues, and these are pretty significant issues that deal with the welfare, the life and safety of the residents, so really the landlord has put the City in a very awkward position to have to move forward this way,” said Robyn.

Because of the deteriorating conditions inside the two buildings, Robyn said the city had no choice but to make occupants move out no later than March 10th.

A group of nonprofits, led by the Homeless Coalition of Jasper & Newton counties are at work to try and find a place for occupants to go.

“So what the Homeless Coalition has done is put together some packets, you know, all our partners with the information they might be able to get help with some rent and getting re-housed and that kind of thing, they will all need to go through a Housing Connect or coordinated entry process as well,” said Robin Smith, Dir., Jasper & Newton Co., Homeless Coalition.

None of the occupants we spoke to wanted to comment on camera, and Carey’s phone number was no longer in service.

Robyn said the city doesn’t have the authority to file criminal charges against Carey, but said the “building board of appeals” has the authority to have the buildings demolished if improvements aren’t made.