Seaview Lofts residents remain out of homes; hotel payments end

Seaview Lofts in Newport News
Posted at 9:41 AM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 19:44:12-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - A judge will revisit whether to revisit the condemnation of the Seaview Lofts on July 26.

In the meantime, residents remain out of their homes and the city stopped picking up the tab for most hotel rooms on Thursday.

In a lengthy statement released Thursday morning, City Manager Cynthia Rohlf said the hotel payments were a "short-term safety net to allow time for residents to make alternate housing arrangements."

Rohlf added the city hosted a resource fair and has tried to connect the residents to other housing.

The judge has ruled the property owner, Seaview Apartments LLC, will have to reimburse the city for the cost of the hotel stays, but the city manager says based on the owner's previous actions there's no indication they will get the money and she says the situation could go on indefinitely.

Later on Thursday, the city clarified eight households are getting hotel assistance for an additional seven days because they were determined to be particularly vulnerable.

Several residents told News 3 they have no other arrangements and will be forced to sleep in their cars. "I'm going to sleep in the car unless you have a backyard I can camp out in," one of them said.

"People with kids are going to be sleeping in a car. I don't have kids and I'm going to be sleeping in a car. It's insane," another resident said.

The city says that they are still helping eight households because they were determined to be particularly vulnerable. Those families will stay in the hotels for an additional week.

During a status hearing on Thursday morning, an attorney for the property owner said the elevators are still being worked on and they hope to have the work completed by July 25.

The building needs at least one elevator that is up-to-code in order to reverse the condemnation order at the building, the judge has said.

An attorney for the building owner and the property manager declined to comment to reporters.

On Wednesday, the city held a resource and housing fair to try and help the residents, whom have been out of the building since July 1.