HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Families displaced from their Holyoke apartment building that partially collapsed on Sunday have a place to stay for the next few nights as they fight their landlord in housing court.
The apartment building on Essex Street is still closed to the families who live there and will be for weeks, but the tenants learned today in court that their landlord will put them up in hotels until Tuesday, a short-term solution in an ongoing battle.
"I got to stay in the hotel yesterday. The night before, I was out in the street," Holyoke resident Crusiyiris Mery-Rodriguez tells us.
Twenty families had their lives uprooted when a section of the roof collapsed on their apartment building on Sunday night in Holyoke.
"They are really stressed, anxious. Not to have your belongings and not knowing where you sleep in a couple of nights or tonight and they’re really anxious over that. So are the children. There's a lot of trauma going on that’s going to have to be addressed later," Betty Medina-Lichtenstein, the executive director of Enlace de Familias, stated.
The situation has now landed in Springfield Housing Court, where on Friday, the attorney for landlord Lucjan Hronowski told the judge that his client would pay for families to stay in a hotel up until Tuesday and that repairs wouldn’t be finished on the building for at least thirty days.
Although residents will have a place to sleep for the next few nights, families tell Western Mass News they are still without their belongings or their money and are more frustrated than ever.
"None of us have gotten security deposit, the month we paid. Nothing," one tenant explained.
Some say this short-term solution doesn’t solve the resident’s anxieties about where they will be come Tuesday night.
"What they want to know is, long-term, what is it that’s going to happen," says Medina-Lichtenstein.
And what the residents say they need is simple.
"For him to take responsibility and help us, like we’re all here, because we pay rent. We need a home. Our kids need a home," one tenant added.
The case will be continued in housing court on Tuesday to come up with a more long-term solution for these families.