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Tower residents get shuffled again

Suffolk Tower residents have been given another reprieve in order to gain assistance, but are being shuffled to other hotels because of a price increase at the hotel they were at, according to city officials.

More than 100 people were displaced when a fire started in the 180 block of North Main Street in downtown Suffolk in the early morning hours of July 13. They have been unable to return to their apartments due to electrical engineers hired by the building owner determining it was not safe.

Most of the residents have been staying at hotels for the time being, with the cost being paid first by the Suffolk Tower management company, then by the city. The latest round of vouchers was set to expire Tuesday.

However, city spokeswoman Diana Klink stated, the city and its Department of Social Services are continuing to coordinate with nonprofit organizations to assist the Suffolk Tower residents who have been displaced.

“STOP Inc. is working to assess the needs of the displaced families and to assist those who qualify for their relocation services,” Klink stated in an email Tuesday morning. “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 Aug. 2.”

Klink later stated that the hotel where some of the residents were staying, the Quality Inn & Suites, intended to raise its rates “from the previously agreed upon $700 per week to $1,116 per week,” Klink stated. A total of 34 residents were occupying 16 rooms at that hotel.

Klink said a Suffolk Parks & Recreation bus would be providing transportation assistance to other hotels — the Brentwood Inn & Suites at 1526 Holland Road; the Travelodge by Wyndham Suffolk at 2864 Pruden Blvd.; and the Green Pines Motel at 1272 Portsmouth Blvd.

A woman who answered the phone at Quality Inn & Suites Tuesday afternoon said the owner was not available to answer questions about the price increase.

Former Suffolk Tower residents in need of assistance should call the Suffolk Department of Social Services Intake at 757-514-7375, or Cheryl Griffin at 757-304-2883.

Some other nonprofit organizations are also organizing help. Monetary donations can go through First Baptist Church of Suffolk at 237 N. Main St. (757-539-4152) or through Suffolk Christian Fellowship Center at 211 E. Washington St. (757-539-2600). Indicate the gift is for Suffolk Tower aid.