Housing Authority Won't Reopen Stubbs Tower - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/15/04

Housing Authority Won't Reopen Stubbs Tower

The situation for people who live in Stubbs Tower keeps getting worse. Yesterday, the 15-story senior living center on Savannah's east side at Bee Road and Anderson Street was flooded from the top floor down. Today the residents learned they can't go back.

Two weeks before Thanksgiving and many of the people who live there have nowhere else to go. The flooding caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, more than the building is worth.

The tower is in shambles. Everything inside, from top to bottom, is soaking wet, including the possessions of the people who called the retirement center home. "I have everything up there, my pocketbook," said one resident. "I came from church, that's all I have, no clothes, no nothing."

The Savannah Housing Authority owns the building. Spokesperson Sandy Glicken says around 1pm yesterday afternoon, someone intentionally opened a water valve on the 15th floor. "I looks like the brass cap on the stem pipe was beaten off and somebody just opened up the water and let it roar."

The damage is so bad, the housing authority is going to close Stubbs Tower permanently. Half of the residents are staying with friends and family, but that still leaves about 40 people with nowhere to go. Right now they are staying at a makeshift shelter at the Savannah Housing Authority's Resource Center on Wheaton Street and sleeping on cots. They don't know where they are going to go from here.

They will stay at the resource center as long as they can. Meanwhile the housing authority is trying to find them a new permanent place to live.

"We have several units available at Stillwell Towers, and we are going to move some people there," said Glicken. "We have had nursing homes step forward that can provide temporary assistance and house some residents for us and we are also looking at other low-income housing providers and trying to get assistance from them to get people housed."

While many are grateful for that, it's still not much comfort for some people who just lost everything.

Another reason the housing authority decided to permanently close Stubbs Tower is because it was scheduled for demolition in a year or so anyway. They plan is build a 100-unit mid-rise complex for seniors behind where Stubbs Tower now stands.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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