Displaced New Albany public housing residents could spend weeks in hotels, city says
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Wednesday marks three nights that New Albany public housing tenants have been kept from their homes, and it could be a long time until they can go back.
According to the New Albany Housing Authority Interim Executive Director David Duggins, a permanent fix at Riverview Towers could take four weeks. While NAHA hopes residents can return sooner than that, there are no promises yet. Residents will be staying in nearby hotels until they can move back in.
"Being displaced is just not easy on a lot of people," said William Bagshaw, a resident of Riverview Towers.
He's one of 160 people currently out of their homes at Riverview Towers, many of which are elderly or disabled.
"I just got through having surgery, so I'm trying to recuperate from it," Bagshaw said. "And they're like, 'You've gotta go.' So here we go."
The public housing tower in New Albany was evacuated Monday after a series of fires shut off the power. The city has since deemed the building unsafe and uninhabitable.
"Right now, I've got 160 residents or more that are not in their homes and have to come to ask permission to be here," Duggins said. "We're going to fix that first, and we'll worry about the money afterward."
The Housing Authority is paying for rooms and meals for all its residents. It could be this way for up to a month.
"I wanna come back home. This is home, you know," said resident Rita Morris, who was back at the tower Wednesday packing personal items to take back to her hotel.
Some repairs are already underway at the tower, but the housing authority doesn't have an estimate for how much a permanent fix and amenities for its residents will cost.
Duggins said the residents will be at their hotels "as long as necessary."
"If there's an issue with the hotel, and they're booked up or something of that nature, we will move them to another hotel. They will be taken care of."
Once it's safe enough to move back in, Duggins said tenants will get a $150 gift card to restock their groceries and a portable air conditioner.
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