Green Hill residents learn they can't return for several months
MIDLAND, Mich. —
The owner of a Midland senior living facility that caught fire said it will be several months now until residents can move back in.
Now, many are stuck living in hotels with nothing more than a bag to their name.
"We're not packages, where you can pack us up and keep moving us like this," Green Hill resident Annette Justus said.
Justus moved to the Best Western in Midland after being forced to leave the Green Hill Apartments due to the fire a little over a week ago.
"This is like I'm on vacation," she said. "This is not my house."
She learned Wednesday that this is where she will be staying for several months, according to a letter she received from Altman Management.
Without her kitchen, she's now living off of microwavable food, like macaroni and cheese.
"By the time I go home, I don't ever want to see that stuff again," she said.
Also, all of her possessions now fit into a couple of bags.
But the hardest part for Justus and some of the other residents staying in hotels is they're still being forced to pay rent.
"I don't believe we should have to pay rent for a place we can't stay in," Green Hill resident Patty Michael said.
Justus said she agrees.
"But I want a roof over my head when I go home, so I will pay it," she said.
Jan Lampman, the executive director with The ARC of Midland, said this is all difficult for a lot of these residents to understand.
"The folks that we're talking about here are people who already have day-to-day challenges with either being able to understand things that are verbally told to them or memory," she said.
But resident Gil Hansen, who claims it was his unattended candle that caused the fire, said he gets it.
"You're going to pay rent no matter where you go," he said. "I'm OK with it."
However, he said he's not OK with being the reason behind everyone's discomfort.
"Because of me everybody's out of their environment," Hansen said. "They're here. They're all over the damn city because the fire started in my house."
Now, according to the letter given to residents Wednesday by Altman Management, those who found other accommodations don't have to pay for rent.
The letter also stated that residents must contact management by August 17, otherwise what's left inside of their apartment will be throw out.
This way, workers can start removing the flooring and dry wall.
NBC25/ FOX66 News reached out to Altman Management, but have yet to receive a statement at this time.