Fire damage leaves frustration for seniors

March 20, 2008 4:14:08 PM PDT
Dozens of low income seniors say the housing authority has broken its promise to return them to their homes or get their belongings back. Fire ripped through the Bellrieve Senior High Rise back in November, forcing more than 200 residents out of their homes. Ever since, they've been living in temporary housing.

Now those residents have been told by the housing authority that the fire caused the release of asbestos, leaving those units contaminated. The housing authority says residents they will have to pay an estimated $3,400 each, on average, to clean up each apartment and its contents. Many of the victims say they cannot afford such a payment.

Resident Donna Sutton said, "That is my home. I have no other home. I have no other family. I live strictly on my Social Security."

The housing authority says it never implied or stated to residents that the contents of their homes would be covered by the organization's insurance. The housing authority's insurance does not cover the cost of cleaning personal property or asbestos remediation.

The HHA has applied for grants and is trying to get donations from local corporations to help pay for the remediation.

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