1999 GMCA Successfully Organizes Neighborhood Against Multi-Resident Group Homes
In 1999, there were two houses in our neighborhood that were rented to as many as 15 non-related residents at a time. These houses were used as rental apartment businesses and the owners did not live on the premises. Some of the rental residents were reported to be convicted felons on parole, drug users and sex offenders. The interiors of the houses had been subdivided to provide separate bedrooms for each of the residents (up to 15 bedrooms) and many cars were parked on and near the properties so that adjoining neighborhood houses had their street parking spaces occupied. Lakewood police officers often had to deal with problems at each of the properties and often make arrests.
GMCA organized public meetings to obtain comments and ultimately requested donations of $100 per household from the entire GMCA neighborhood community and, with the funds, hired an attorney to collect evidence to present to the City of Lakewood. At this time, the City Council was drafting a new housing ordinance and our documentation was presented to and considered by the City Council. As a result, the Lakewood housing ordinance was strengthened to set limits on the number of unrelated residents in a private residence, and require additional kitchen facilities, bathrooms and laundry facilities when the number of occupants living in the house exceeded the new limits.
As a result, the houses were ultimately remodeled to return to compliance and were sold to new home owners.