Picking Up The Pieces: Tenants At Northeast Side Apartment Complex Point Fingers In Flooding Episode

By Jeff Neumeyer

June 3, 2013 Updated Jun 4, 2013 at 10:37 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) --- Getting up after being knocked down by floodwaters.

Work is underway to find new homes for families in a Northeast Fort Wayne apartment complex hit hard by flash floods this weekend.

Some people in Black Bear Creek Apartments, who’ve been displaced by water problems, are moving in to other units in the same complex, but that's not an option for everybody.

It is leading to finger pointing, even at the American Red Cross.

The four to five inch downpours Friday night hit the complex at Lake and Reed like a cold slap in the face.

" Turned the light on and it was everywhere, it was a disaster," said Starlite Jones, whose lower level unit is one of 55 inundated with water.

When Homeland Security officials declared those units a level 3 disaster, carpet and drywall were ordered replaced.

Notes were posted on doors, telling tenants they had until Monday afternoon to move out.

Jones is blaming apartment management.

" They didn't have nothing in order, you know, everybody is passing the buck, waiting on the next person," she said.

Mid-day, people were scurrying to and fro; trying to get chairs, mattresses and other personal items loaded into trucks and vehicles.

14 of the 55 families were transferred into upper level units that were vacant and dry.

Those not so fortunate are not pleased.

" More people got more units up in the front, and we were right here where the water was up to our waist. We had to get out of here. I think it wasn't fair," said Marcus Mitchell.

Rental units took a beating, but so did vehicles in the parking lots, where water levels rose to the door handles of cars.

Some may be ruined.

The apartment management has been taking some flak, but they're also dishing it out, and one of their chief targets is the Red Cross.

Flaherty and Collins Properties says it contacted the Red Cross, trying to get temporary shelter for residents.

They claim the agency hesitated at doling out assistance.

" The feedback we were getting to some of the residents is that they're not in a position...the Red Cross is not in a position at this particular time to be handing out hotel or housing vouchers, which is typically what we're accustomed to seeing in a situation like this," said Jill Herron, Vice President with Flaherty & Collins Properties.

Red Cross officials say they will be providing caseworkers to assess the needs of individual families and stand ready to help displaced tenants get situated in other complexes that have availabilities.

Black Bear Creek Apartment managers claim they are refunding security deposits and rent payments for the month of June to those displaced renters.

It is cash that can be applied to their next apartment lease agreement.

It is not an answer to all the problems they face, but it's a start.




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