City extends hotel stay for residents of structurally deficient Cranston apartment building

West Bay

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ After being told their temporary lodging would come to an end Friday, residents of a Cranston apartment building learned the city has extended their stay through the weekend.

Their building was deemed uninhabitable earlier this week after part of the second-floor walkway started to collapse, forcing the tenants of 39 units to quickly pack some of their things and leave.

The displaced residents have been staying at the Hilton Providence Hotel, and Mayor Ken Hopkins initially said the rooms were only booked through Friday.

But with Tropical Storm Elsa making its way up the coast, Hopkins said he was able to secure the rooms until Monday to give the residents more time to make future arrangements.

“It’s not about money, it’s not about services,” Hopkins said. “You have to have compassion for people, and there’s no way in the world I’m going to put people out on the street, especially during a storm, so we found a way.”

Hopkins said the city plans to seek reimbursement for the additional nights through a variety of programs.

Earlier in the week, he told 12 News any accommodations made would be the responsibility of the property owner. Since then, it has been unclear whether that is the case.

When asked what happens after Monday, Hopkins candidly said, “well, we have three days to figure that out.”

“[The property owner] gave us some optimistic news that the people on the bottom floor may be allowed back in sometime early next week, and then the top floor … they are going to find a way within the next couple of weeks,” Hopkins said.

The owner of the building returned July’s rent checks to the tenants on Wednesday, and 12 News has learned they’re not expected to pay it back as long as they’re out of the apartment building.

12 News has reached out to the property owner several times but has yet to hear back. Hopkins confirms they have received a citation for the ordeal.

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