March 2018- Photos of the Month

The biggest story I tackled in this month was about an apartment complex that had been condemned and abandoned by its owners and property management in Flint. Several residents went without heat, electricity or water for weeks at a time. Trash could be seen piled up next to the complex. It had stopped being collected by the city since summer of last year. For most of the month I visited the complex with Flint Journal reporter and best friend Zahra Ahmad. Our goal was to get to know the remaining residents and document the conditions in which they lived. 

From there we met a family, The Hendersons, who still lived there. They decided to leave when violence, burglary and drug use began to take over the complex. They moved into the Shelter of Flint until they could find an affordable home in a safe area, something hard to come by in Flint. This is an unfortunate story of something that is common and continues to happen in Flint that leaves many individuals and families homeless. Read full story here.

Mike Ceaser, 54, sits in his living room at Mary Ann Apartments on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Flint. He has been living in the apartment for nearly 9 months. “When I first moved in here there was cockroaches real bad, the refrigerator was dirty and the carpet was dirty,” Ceaser said. “They were supposed to have everything cleaned when I moved in here and when I got here it wasn’t.” Ceaser said when people began squatting in the vacant apartments is when things became really bad. Ceaser has had a gun pulled on him twice since living at the complex. “It makes a person depressed and adds to anxiety,” Ceaser said. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Jami Santee stands for a photo as she prepares to move out of her apartment at Mary Ann Apartments on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Flint. She has been living in the apartment for nearly a year and has lived under the same conditions as many other residents. She has had rodents and cockroaches infest her place due to trash piling up outside the complex. Santee and her mother both live at the complex. Her mother, who is blind and diabetic, has suffered the same conditions as well. “I’m a diabetic with only 54 percent of my kidneys working,” Santee said. “This is too much. We don’t need all this. I don’t need all this. We pay our rent and stay to ourselves. We need all the help we can get.” Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Jackie Parks, 43, sits on her bed in her room at Mary Ann Apartments on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in Flint. Parks has been living at the complex for a year and has been taking care of her father who is sick with cancer. Her apartment has been broken into twice and her father has grown increasingly ill due to their living environment. “It’s terrible,” Parks said. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Amanda Henderson, 29, and her husband Danni, 56, sit in their room at the Shelter of Flint on Monday, March 19, 2018, in Flint. The Henderson’s became displaced from their home when the Mary Ann Apartments, located on West Court Street, were condemned on Feb. 26. They had lived there since June 2017 and on several occasions went without heat, water and electricity. She realized quickly there was a lack in management. Henderson has a two-year-old son named Nathanael Broughton. “I couldn’t take him outside without seeing hypodermic needles,” she said. “They put us in that apartment with terrible conditions knowing I had a two-year-old son. I almost had my son taken from me because the water was shut off for so long.” The family moved to the shelter in the beginning of March. They have struggled to find a place to live and are on a four-month waiting list with Section 8 Housing. “I never thought being homeless would happen to me,” Henderson said. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Furniture, clothes and other keepsakes belonging to the Henderson family lies scattered after their apartment was ransacked the night before at the Mary Ann Apartments on West Court Street on Friday, March 16, 2018, in Flint. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Nathanael Broughton peers out of his parent’s home at the Mary Ann Apartments on West Court Street on Friday, March 16, 2018, in Flint. Their apartment was broken into the night before and ransacked. The family returned to gather their belongings, including Broughton’s Thomas the Tank Engine toy. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Amanda Henderson carries her two-year-old son, Nathanael Broughton, to their room at Shelter of Flint on Monday, March 19, 2018, in Flint. “I’m worried about my son,” Henderson said. She adds Nathanael has had a few meltdowns since relocating to the shelter. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Amanda Henderson walks out of the Shelter of Flint with her husband, Danni, and son, Nathanael Broughton, 2, on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, in Flint. The family has been living in the shelter for a week since leaving Maryann Apartments. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Danni Henderson, 56, buckles his seat belt before running errands with his wife, Amanda, and son, Nathanael Broughton, on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, in Flint. Henderson says he was in the United States Army for 15 years. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Amanda Henderson’s two-year-old song Nathanael Broughton begins to cry while looking out of his home at the Mary Ann Apartments on West Court Street on Friday, March 16, 2018, in Flint. The night before the apartment was broken into and ransacked. The family has been staying at the Shelter of Flint until they can relocate into a new home. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

The Hendersons eat breakfast together at the Shelter of Flint on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, in Flint. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Nathanael Broughton, 2, giggles as his parents Amanda and Danni Henderson kiss his forehead at Shelter of Flint on Monday, March 19, 2018, in Flint. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Amanda Henderson, 29, looks out the window while in the backseat with her son, Nathanael Broughton, 2, on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, in Flint. Since relocating to the shelter, Henderson said the process of moving has been difficult. “All of the apartments so far have turned our applications down because Dan is unemployed right now,” Henderson said. “It’s just been hard on me, it’s been stressful.” Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Amanda Henderson shares a moment with her son, Nathanael Broughton, 2, in the bathroom at First Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 in Flint. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Nathanael Broughton, 2, stares out the window of a tunnel a part of McDonald’s indoor playground on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, in Flint. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Amanda Henderson and her husband Danni swing their son Nathanael Broughton, 2, outside of Genesee County Circuit Court on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, in Flint. The family spent their day trying to get Broughton’s birth certificate and Social Security card. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Amanda Henderson show her son Nathanael Broughton, 2, a picture of her grandparents in their room at Shelter of Flint on Monday, March 19, 2018, in Flint. When their apartment was ransacked, the photos of her grandparents were thrown on the floor. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Nathanael Broughton, 2, squeezes water from a towel onto his head during a bath at Shelter of Flint on Monday, March 19, 2018, in Flint. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Amanda Henderson tucks her son Nathanael Broughton into bed in their room at Shelter of Flint on Monday, March 19, 2018, in Flint. The family lives in a room with two bunk beds that Amanda and her husband rotate each night to sleep alongside Nathanael. The belongings on the storage rack are what they managed to bring when they left Mary Ann Apartment complex. It’s all they have until they can afford to buy new clothes, furniture and other objects to replace the ones destroyed when their apartment was broken into. This is the first time Henderson has been homeless. Her father called her crying because he didn’t have room for her at his home. “There’s just no room for us at his place or my step mom’s place,” Henderson said. “There’s no room for us anywhere.” Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Here are some other favorites from March!

Two firefighters talk outside of a structure fire on Poplar Street and Kearsley Boulevard on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 in Flint. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Bridgeport’s senior cheerleader Nyah White, 18, stands for a photo during the Class B regional championship game on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 in Goodrich. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Army Airborne veteran, Burgess Loar, 89, holds his Purple Heart Medal he received during an event celebrating his service in the military at Ovid Healthcare Center on Monday, March 26, 2018 in Ovid. Along with the Purple Heart, Burgess was awarded six additional medals including the Cold War Victory Commemorative medal and ribbon. Burgess was in the United States Army for six years. He started as a dental technician and then trained to jump out of airplanes. “It was amazing,” Loar said. “I wanted to be one of the best of the best.” He adds that he is most proud of becoming an airborne solider in his life. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

From left, Grand Blanc’s senior guard Lonnell Martin and senior guard Jackarus Smith become emotional after losing to Carman-Ainsworth 68-66 during the District 9 Class A Championship game at Carman-Ainsworth High School on Friday, March 9, 2018 in Flint Township. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Over 200 students participated in a national walkout to remember the 17 Parkland School shooting victims at Lapeer High School on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 in Lapeer. “I was proud of the amount of people that came out,” said Lapeer senior Bailey Lewis, 17. “I think we had an astounding amount of people participate I was more proud of the message we were spreading.” Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Gary Browne, center, picks a flower from his father’s casket during the burial service of Richard “Dick” LaVon Browne at Riverside Cemetery on Monday, March 5, 2018 in Swan Creek Township. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Fresh snow blankets the ground at Max Brandon Park off Dupont Street on Friday, March 2, 2018 in Flint. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Bridgeport fans Kellee Garrett and Freddie Marshall react to a call made by the referee during the Class B regional championship game on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 in Goodrich. Garrett is the mother to players Marcela and Charles while Marshall is grandmother to the players. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Bridgeport’s senior Charles Garrett shoots the ball during the Class B regional championship game on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 in Goodrich. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Carman-Ainsworth’s senior guard Ja’Kavien Lewis wipes tears from his eye with his jersey as he is overcome with emotion during the final seconds of the Class A quarterfinal game against Clarkston at Grand Blanc High School on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 in Grand Blanc. Clarkston defeated Carman-Ainsworth 52-31 and will move on to the state semifinal at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Friday. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

From left, Carman-Ainsworth’s senior guard Ja’Kavien Lewis and senior guard Jamarreyon Houston sing during warmup before the Class A quarterfinal at Grand Blanc High School on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 in Grand Blanc. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Carman-Ainsworth’s junior center Mike Fletcher pulls his warmup jersey over his head before the Class A quarterfinal at Grand Blanc High School on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 in Grand Blanc. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Clarkston’s senior forward Chat Wasilk fights to shoot the ball during the Class A quarterfinal at Grand Blanc High School on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 in Grand Blanc. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

during practice at Carman-Ainsworth High School on Thursday, March 15, 2018 in Flint Township. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

From left, Carman-Ainsworth’s players Michael Fletcher, Chris Ballard listen to head coach Jay Witham during halftime at Davison High School on Monday, March 12, 2018 in Davison. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Carman-Ainsworth’s senior forward Chris Ballard rebounds the ball during the Class A district tournament at Carman-Ainsworth High School on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 in Flint Township. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Carman-Ainsworth players celebrate after defeating Grand Blanc during the District 9 Class A Championship game at Carman-Ainsworth High School on Friday, March 9, 2018 in Flint Township. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

Carman-Ainsworth defeat Grand Blanc 68-66 in overtime in the Class A district championship game at Carman-Ainsworth High School on Friday, March 9, 2018 in Flint Township. Bronte Wittpenn | MLive.com

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