Red Cross to take over temporary housing for displaced Holyoke families

  • The roof of this building at 151 West Street in the Flats neighborhood of Holyoke sustained damage from strong winds on Friday evening, May 15, 2020, spilling debris onto the street and damaging several cars. Photographed on Saturday, May 16, 2020. The building, also called the "Lionel", is part of the Sergeant West Apartments complex that occupies three of the four corners of the intersection. Two large sheets of roll roofing, still partially attached to the roof, can be seen hanging from the top of the building. FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Strong winds apparently toppled part of the cornice on the north side of this four story apartment building at 176 West Street in the Flats neighborhood of Holyoke on Friday evening, May 15, 2020, spilling bricks onto E. Dwight Street and damaging at least one car. Photographed on Saturday, May 16, 2020. The building is one of two buildings in the Sergeant West Apartments II complex that sustained roof damage. FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Several cars in the Flats neighborhood of Holyoke were damaged by debris that came off the roof of this building at 151 West Street in strong winds on Friday evening, May 15, 2020. Photographed on Saturday, May 16, 2020. A large sheet of roll roofing, still partially attached to the roof, can be seen hanging off the top of the building. FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Strong winds caused extensive damage to the roofs of two of the brick apartment buildings at the intersection of E. Dwight and West Streets in the Flats neighborhood of Holyoke on Friday evening, May 15, 2020. This is the back of 176 West Street, which also lost part of its facade on E. Dwight St. spilling bricks onto the street and damaging at least one car. Photographed on Saturday, May 16, 2020. The complex of four- and five-story buildings is called Sergeant West Apartments and managed by Mt. Holyoke Management, LLC, of Holyoke. FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Strong winds toppled part of the cornice on the north side of a four story apartment building in the Sergeant West Apartments complex at 176 West Street in the Flats neighborhood of Holyoke on Friday evening, May 15, 2020. Photographed on Saturday, May 16, 2020, looking east on E. Dwight St. FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 5/19/2020 7:00:00 PM

HOLYOKE — Starting Wednesday, the American Red Cross will be responsible for temporary housing of the families displaced after storms last week ripped the roofs off of two apartment blocks on West Street, according to the mayor’s office.

Fire officials said 141 people were displaced Friday night after thunderstorms carrying powerful winds damaged parts of the apartment buildings at 151 and 176 West St. The city and the buildings’ landlords secured emergency shelter that night for families at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Springfield-Holyoke on Whiting Farms Road, where the majority of families are now, according to Mike Bloomberg, chief of staff to Mayor Alex Morse.

The city has an emergency housing contract with the hotel, Bloomberg said. Since Friday, the city has been invoiced for the rooms and the landlords have reimbursed, which Bloomberg said goes through Tuesday night. The American Red Cross will take over temporary housing Wednesday and families will still stay at the Fairfield Inn, he said. Some people are in another hotel but are being moved to the Fairfield, Bloomberg said.

State property records show that the two damaged buildings are owned by Sargeant West Apartments II Limited Partnership, located at 667 Main St. in the city. Mount Holyoke Management LLC is also located at the same address and is managed by Herbert Berezin, according to the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce website.

Property records also show that another company with the same address as Sargeant West Apartments and Mount Holyoke Management — Holyoke High Street LLC — also owns 113 High St., which in late 2019 had bricks fall off of its facade and into the street.

Attempts to contact Mount Holyoke Management by phone were unsuccessful Tuesday.

Reached by phone Saturday, Morse said the city’s building commissioner estimated that it could take up to six months for damages to the buildings to be repaired. Bloomberg said contractors are still assessing the damage, and as this is being determined, families will remain housed at the hotel.

“There is an ongoing assessment of the buildings to determine the amount of time they will be out of commission for and whether permanent housing will be needed,” he said.

Bloomberg said that in the meantime, the city is preparing for a coordinated rehousing effort. He said the city’s housing task force, along with the state Department of Housing and Community Development, Red Cross and other community organizations such as Enlace de Familias will assist families if rehousing is necessary. There is no current timeline for when this rehousing initiative might begin, according to Bloomberg.

Morse said Saturday that the state housing agency had told him emergency funding would be available for permanent rehousing of the displaced tenants.

With 50 Holyoke Public School students among those affected by the apartment building damages Friday night, the school district is collecting diapers, baby formula, face masks, hypoallergenic baby wipes, forehead thermometers, toiletries, hand sanitizers, gift cards and cash donations for those affected. Those looking to donate can do so at Holyoke High School North at 500 Beech St. from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on May 20 and 22. For more information, contact Jose Bou at jbou@hps.holyoke.ma.us.




Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy