City pays for one more week hotel rooms for displaced residents of Suffolk Tower Apartments

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SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – For one more week, the city’s taxpayers will foot the bill for hotel rooms so some of those displaced from their apartments by an intentional fire have more time to find new accommodation.

The city and the Department of Social Services have partnered with nonprofits to help people displaced by Suffolk Tower apartments two weeks ago, according to city spokeswoman Diana Klink. Specifically, STOP Inc. – a community action agency – works to “assess the needs of displaced families and assist those who are eligible for their resettlement services.”

“To allow time for the necessary assessments to be completed, the Suffolk City Social Services Department will continue to provide vouchers for hotel stays until August 2.sd“Klink said in an email.

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The city began paying residents’ hotel rooms last Friday when Scott Alperin, the lawyer representing the owner of the burnt down building, told tenants he would no longer pay for housing.

Alperin said the building was locked and an electrical engineer found the building unsafe for reoccupancy. He said he was not sure if or when the building would reopen.

Herbert Boothe, 69, has been charged with arson, sexual assault and assault on an officer. Court records obtained by 10 On Your Side indicate that Boothe admitted to “setting a chair on fire” on the fifth floor, displacing dozens of people.

Most residents have stayed at the Quality Inn & Suites west of downtown. However, Klink said on Tuesday the city was securing 16 hotel rooms elsewhere.

“The Quality Inn & Suites intended to increase its previously agreed rates from $ 700.00 per week to $ 1,116.00 per week,” Klink said. “A bus provided by Suffolk Parks & Recreation will provide transportation assistance for those affected. “

No one at the Quality Inn was immediately available to comment.

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