November 21, 2005
Mattie Wrentz has been living in her house for more than two decades.
Mattie said, "I bought this house and then they had to rebuild it over."
Just a few months ago city officials deemed Wrentz's home substandard. They enlisted the help of student volunteers over the summer, but say it's an uphill battle.
Richard Joyner, Valdosta housing inspector, said, "We eliminate substandard houses, then more substandard housed occur, so it's an ongoing process."
There are about 900 to 1,000 substandard homes in Valdosta. That's a number city officials say is too high, so they've set up a campaign to rid the city of all substandard homes by the year 2020.
Mara Register with community development said, "We've seen more houses brought up to code through the housing division than we're actually demolishing every year."
And with houses like this one back up to code, Wrentz, said, "Very excited because, see, I'm a widow. I'm here by myself. My husband passed away, so when I heard about this I was very excited and very thankful to the Lord."
The city of Valdosta seems on the way to accomplishing its goal.
Wrentz added, "I just thank the Lord day by day."
One resident, and one day at a time.
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs awarded the City of Valdosta with the Magnolia Award for their work with substandard homes.