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Hotel stay extended for seniors displaced by pipe burst

Seniors who were displaced from their apartments due to a pipe burst on Christmas have been covered to stay in hotels through February.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There is some relief for the seniors of the Magnolia Senior Apartments who were displaced because of flooding on Christmas weekend.

The property management, and then the city of Charlotte covered the hotel stay for dozens of residents through the end of January. That time has now been extended.

Nilka McDonald is one of about 60 senior residents staying in hotels. 

“It’s really nice but like I said it is not the same thing as being home, but you know we have to make the best of it and be grateful for what we do have," she said.

A pipe burst, flooding and damaging several units on Christmas Day 2022. Many of the seniors have been away from home for over a month.

“Because my apartment was one of the nine badly hit, they are looking at nine months but they are looking at more than that,” said McDonald. “That terminating of the lease is still on the table.”

CEO of Crisis Assistance Ministry, Carol Hardison said that the stay is now covered through the end of February.

“We'll be working around the clock to continue to find those dollars to pay through February, we've guaranteed the families that we can do that and as a community, I know we will,” she said.

The next step she says is Housing Collaborative helping people find short and long-term housing arrangements.

“We put a project together of community nonprofits, who are working on the ground, and city and county leaders to one by one, meet with every single person in need, and develop an individualized plan for their long-term housing stability.”

Some of the seniors have already started looking on their own and say this highlights the need for more affordable housing.

“The whole situation of housing in North Carolina is terrible,” she McDonald. “I can’t afford to rent they are trying to charge.”

“It’s kind of hard people put you on a waiting list and take your money. I do not have the money to be giving it away and going on a waiting list,” said Margaret Johnson, who is also displaced.

Meanwhile, residents lean on faith and each other as the search for housing continues.

“I try to be an encouragement to them. And they are an encouragement to me also,” said McDonald.

She admits the uncertainty is adding to her stress.

"I'm scared. I'm really scared because I just don't know," McDonald said. "Even though we are in a nice hotel again it's not home. I can't sleep and I just don't know how much longer I can go on. I think I've aged since this all happened."

If you are a displaced senior, you can reach out to Housing Collaborative by calling the number on the screen 704-334-8722. Let them know you are from the Magnolia Senior Apartments and they will help you with your housing needs.

Champion House of Care is assisting with basic needs like food, transportation, and toiletries. Their number is 704-746-8081.

Hardison said they're working to raise funds to cover the hotel stay for the seniors. If you want to help head to their website or call and note your donation is specific to Magnolia Senior apt residents.

Credit: Crisis Assistance Ministry

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