Tenants displaced by Easter fire are being moved into hotels while permanent housing secured

Complex is condemned; shelter to shut down
Posted at 4:46 PM, Apr 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-20 07:08:15-04

Baltimore City leaders met Wednesday morning with the nearly 175 people who lived in Lanvale Towers.  There is a plan in place to get everyone into temporary housing, but some residents say it's not enough.

Our cameras weren't allowed inside, but people packed into the American Red Cross shelter hoping for answers and help.

"These are our citizens and whether it's a privately held building or not, we have a responsibility to make sure that they're taken care of," said Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Baltimore Housing Officials said they are working to move everyone forced out of their apartments into hotels, starting with the disabled and elderly.

"Our intent is to close the shelter down today or tomorrow, then start moving forward to get those people out the shelter,” said Baltimore Housing Deputy Commissioner, Reggie Scriber. “Then move forward to get those residents who didn't come to the shelter into hotels as well."

He says everyone will have a room by Monday at the latest, and within three weeks the goal is to have tenants placed in permanent housing.

"It was really good, it helped a lot because people kinda know the places we want to go and they trying to work on it fast and everything to get us accommodated with what we need and all," said Jacqueline Smith.

"They gave them a lot of information,” said Rosetta Squire whose father was displaced.  “It seemed like they're trying to assist them with all the needs that they need."

"Right now I feel better then I did when it first started, because at least right now I know a little bit more," Sharon Johnson said.

But some folks say details are still missing, like what hotels they will be placed in, and where the permanent units will be.

"Where we gonna be, what times we gonna be there, what are we gonna do with our furniture," said Andre Jackson.

"I think it's too many gaps and too many concerns for every resident, and a lot of residents don't understand that this is a problem," Curtis Jones said.

Housing officials say the complex is refunding everyone's security deposits, as well as partial rent for this month.

Residents said management had no plan in place for how to respond to a major catastrophe at the high-rise, and it took the city stepping in to get the residents some relief.

"We should not have this experience anywhere else in the city, if you got a development such as Lanvale Towers and we have a disaster such as we had over there on Sunday, there should be no reason why we should have to resort to this kind of process, it should something already in place to move people quickly to make sure they're in a safe haven," Scriber said.