WARREN - A Sunshine of Warren Inc. property at 2518 Hamilton St. S.W. became front-page news when police, the city's animal control officer and the health department raided the house because the couple residing there had sick and deceased dogs and cats inside.
The original complaint filed against Tiffany Charleton and Michael Kelley in September said the house does not have plumbing or gutters and is in generally poor condition.
The couple, who haven't made a house payment since May, promised to clean the property and reduce the number of dogs from 11 to four.
Last month, when authorities raided the property again, police and Animal Welfare League representatives found five dead and one malnourished dog inside and three dead cats outside. They said the inside of the house was trashed.
Deputy Health Commissioner Bob Pinti said he would recommend the house be placed on the city's condemnation list.
Sunshine is attempting to reduce the number of houses in its inventory. However, its most recent effort has been less than successful.
Sunshine of Warren, Inc., and its subsidiaries use government funds to buy, rehab and build houses for low-income residents. The 235 Trumbull County properties they own, mostly in Warren, break down this way:
87 single-family houses under the original Sunshine of Warren Inc.
48 houses under Warren First Homes LP, including 40 newly constructed and 8 rehabilitated.
40 houses under Warren Homes II LP, including 35 newly constructed and 5 rehabilitated.
40 houses under Warren Homes III LP, all newly constructed, including 15 outside of Warren.
29 houses under Warren Neighborhood Redevelopment LLC, all rehabilitated.
The City of Warren and Trumbull County created Sunshine in 1993 using federal HOME grants to provide housing for low-income residents. It obtained money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to purchase, rehab and construct homes, mostly in Warren.
Sunshine, which expanded into four additional incorporations, has 87 single family homes while its subsidiaries own 148 Low Income Housing Tax Credit properties.
Four of the properties have been demolished, three are on the city's demo list and another is on the city's condemned list. Trumbull County has placed a tax lien against Sunshine for the cost of two demolitions.
There are 33 vacant Sunshine houses, 12 of which need significant repairs, according to Executive Director Anthony Iannucci. He said eight of the 12 are in such poor condition and in such undesirable locations that they're not worth repairing.
That does not include the Hamilton Street house.
Iannucci said the Hamilton Street house was sold ''as is'' to the couple under a land contract in February. He said Sunshine did not evict the couple because it attempts to work with tenants and, in this case, the purchaser of the property, because many are poor and have financial challenges.
''Sometimes it is better to work with people,'' Iannucci said.
Warren Councilman Greg Bartholomew, D-4th Ward, said Sunshine needs to better manage its property.
"It just seems to me that the model doesn't work," Bartholomew said. "The amount of money they put into these houses and for them to have houses on demolition and then to have a house like this on Hamilton where they don't even monitor what's going on there. Something has to happen here, something has to change.
''If (Sunshine) is going to continue to operate in this city, then the city needs to have more influence and oversight,'' Bartholomew said.
On Thursday, Charleton and Kelley were sentenced to to 45 days in jail on animal cruelty charges.
Charleton, 30, and Kelley, 33, also each received five years of probation with a special condition prohibiting them from having any animals during that time.