Rent returned to residents of Cranston apartment building vacated due to structural concerns

West Bay

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The clock is ticking for residents of a Cranston apartment building after they were informed their temporary lodging will soon come to an end.

Their building was deemed uninhabitable on Tuesday 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 were put up at the Hilton Providence Hotel, but Cranston Mayor Ken Hopkins told them during a meeting Wednesday that everyone must check out by Friday.

“After that, you need to make other arrangements,” Hopkins said.

The rooms, which cost approximately $4,000 a night, are being paid for by the Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP), and the nonprofit can only afford to keep the rooms booked through the end of the week.

Hopkins encouraged the residents to reach out to family and friends for help, though not all of them have that option.

“It’s terrible,” first-floor resident Alex Bungener said. “I have no family to go to, so I don’t know what I’m going to do for Friday myself unless I can go back to my apartment.”

Following the meeting, the owner of the building returned July’s rent checks to the tenants.

A structural engineer took a closer look at the damage Wednesday morning. Workers were seen ripping down portions of the walkway a short distance from the section that gave way.

“Visually, if you walk on these walkways, there are a lot of areas that are in decay, the metal is rotted, and there’s the potential for other spots to fall through,” Hopkins told 12 News.

The mayor said while the first-floor residents will likely be allowed to return home as soon as Thursday, those on the second floor won’t be able to move back in anytime soon.

“I don’t think the second floor will be ready for at least a few months,” Hopkins said. “It’s just a major construction expense to get it done.”

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