Hotel stay for displaced Charlotte senior citizens extended through February

More than 80 senior citizens were displaced after flooding at Magnolia Senior Apartments a month ago.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 10:58 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2023 at 9:34 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A month ago, more than 80 senior citizens were told to leave their homes at Magnolia Senior Apartments after a burst pipe made the building unlivable.

Initially, they were put in a hotel and told they’d have to be out of there by the next week. The good news is that on Wednesday night WBTV learned the hotel stay for these seniors through the end of February when initially they were told they would have to find other arrangements.

According to Champion House of Care executive director Janette Kinard, Crisis Assistance Ministry has stepped in to pay for these seniors to stay in their hotels for the next month.

But the truth is, it’s still just a temporary step, and these people are in desperate need of places to stay long-term.

“And that’s what’s important. People have been so kind and supportive. It just does the heart good,” Ardrey Massey said.

Massey has been on dialysis for kidney failure since August when she was displaced from her west apartment in December, and her medical routine was thrown off.

“Each time I’m relocated, my nurse has to re-route the fluids that I have to have. It’s problematic in so many ways on levels that many people can’t even fathom.”

Now for nine hours every night, she makes do in a hotel room where she’s been for the last month.

“And I’m on the waitlist for a live donor kidney so I am looking for a live donor. And hopefully, I’ll get one soon,” she said.

Most of these seniors are still looking for long-term housing as they wait for their apartment building to get repaired. They were told it could take up to nine months.

“I’m wondering why they have not been a priority, because those are Charlotte seniors. This city was built on their backs,” Rohi Rivers, another resident, said.

Those WBTV spoke with Wednesday say the biggest frustration has been the lack of communication from the property management. The two sides met on Jan. 11, but not much progress has been made since then in terms of finding tangible solutions.

“Everybody needs to step up and do the right thing because we are senior citizens,” resident Twearnie Starks said. “And a lot of us don’t have nowhere to go.”

Groups like Champion House of Care and Be You, Be Great say they’ve stepped up in the short term to assist with day-to-day necessities. They say they don’t want these senior citizens to be forgotten.

“They’re going through this trauma, and they’ve just been pushed to the side,” Kinard said. “So, somebody has to speak up and be there for them to support them.”

With Wednesday’s news of extended hotel stays, there is now more time to find a place for these people – kicked out of where they lived by no fault of their own – to go next.

“When I got the call today that said it’s official, they can stay there, that’s a hurdle right there,” Kinard said. “Once we know we’ve got all of them placed, then we’ve accomplished what we need to do.”

Kinard said that they and Be You, Be Great, are always accepting donations and housing connections for these seniors.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story stated that Mecklenburg County was paying for hotel stays. The county has told WBTV that they have not involvement and the original reporting has been removed.

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