SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — More than two weeks after Suffolk Tower Apartments caught fire, many residents are still displaced and looking for answers. However, Monday is the last day that city officials will cover hotel costs.
Police say 69-year-old Herbert Boothe set a chair on fire in his fifth-floor apartment. He now faces several charges, including arson and attempted sexual battery.
The fire led to many being displaced. One of them, James Copeland, says funds to stay afloat are running out.
“I’m spending money that I had saved up,” said Boothe. “To just move and buy clothing, gas and all this kind of stuff. It’s been really a pain.”
The landlord stopped paying for hotels last Friday — now the city will continue to pay for residents until Monday.
The city and department of social services partnered with nonprofit organizations to help those displaced, per city spokeswoman Diana Klink.
“To allow time for the necessary assessments to be completed, the City of Suffolk Department of Social Services will continue to provide vouchers for the hotel stays, up to August 2nd,” Klink said in an email.
Cheryl Griffin is working with the residents — some who have lived in the apartments for decades — she says there’s a lot of hurdles to overcome.
“Some places are requiring up to three months’ rent and deposit,” said Griffin. “Which is difficult for these guys to do.”
Griffin is also working with church pastors and organizations to help residents find housing options.
First Baptist Church of Suffolk is collecting donations to help residents.