CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s been a week since a Cranston apartment building was deemed uninhabitable, and 12 News has learned it may be longer than anticipated before tenants are allowed back into their homes.
On Tuesday, Mayor Ken Hopkins said construction is underway at the Broad Street property, which was vacated after the second-floor walkway partially collapsed.
“The progress seems to be moving forward,” he said. “I went there this morning they were putting up 4×4 wooden beams to secure the walkway.”
The displaced residents were put up at the Hilton Providence Hotel. Hopkins said they can stay there until further notice, but encouraged them to look for longer-term housing.
“They’re anxious. They don’t know where they are going from one day to the next,” Hopkins added. “A couple of them have relocated to other places with families, one family went down to Florida, but there are still 35 families that need a place to stay.”
The mayor said the hotel rooms are being covered by community organizations like The Salvation Army, Red Cross, Comprehensive Community Action Program and St. Vincent De Paul, while local restaurants have stepped up to provide meals.
But when it comes to the owners of the building, he said the city is getting nowhere.
“The community groups have paid for everything,” Hopkins said. “The owners at this point have cut off communication with us. We only communicate through our attorneys. I actually went there this morning and they tried to evict me from the property.”
Andrew Bilodeau, an attorney for the company that runs the building, HPM Management, said tenants won’t be able to return for at least three months.
When asked by 12 News why the timeline was pushed back, Bilodeau released a statement saying, “the work required at the property is very disruptive in terms of noise and poses a safety hazard to tenants and their guests.”
“The completion of all the repairs has been estimated to take a minimum of 90 days,” he continued.
The city said they hold a meeting every night at the hotel to update tenants on the progress, and the property manager, Josh Hennessey, has not been in attendance since the day they had to vacate the building.