Former Stubbs Tower Residents Settled in New Housing

Helen Stiney in her new apartment.
Helen Stiney in her new apartment.

The former residents of Stubbs Tower got an early Christmas Present: a new home. Eighty-five people lost their homes in November when someone intentionally flooded the senior citizens' housing complex. We caught up with one woman who is very happy to put the tragedy behind her.

Helen Stiney has new apartment in Stillwell Towers. This Christmas she's happy to be settled and surrounded by all her things. "It's not as large, that means less work, but I love it."

She remembers November 21--when she and the others were flooded out--like it was yesterday. "And when I went to the door and saw this water, I ran to my patio and got the broom and tried to keep the water out of my apartment, but I couldn't. Just like Niagara Falls, the water was coming down."

Many of the residents spent several nights in a makeshift shelter at the Housing Authority's of Savannah's Resource Center. Helen stayed with a close friend, until the housing authority could help her find a new home.

The week after Thanksgiving, they found her a place and helped her move in. "They helped me move my telephone, cable, of course the lights, they helped me get my mail straightened out and all that stuff."

More than half the residents who used to live in Stubbs Tower are now living in Stillwell Towers or other public housing communities. As for the rest, they're living in private apartment complexes or have decided to permanently stay with friends or family.

Helen says she's likes her neighbors, but misses her friends from Stubbs Tower, where she lived for 15 years. "They're doing fine, I talked to one today, she lives in Kayton Homes, she's doing fine."

That's what the housing authority likes to hear. "It makes the staff feel good because it makes us feel like we did our job," said the housing authority's Sandy Glicken. "Our whole existence is to help take care of these people, provide housing, but also to make sure their other needs are met. People don't come to public housing for no reason, there are other issues involved."

Their goal from the beginning was to help one person at a time, until everyone found a home, settled and happy, just in time for Christmas.

Police are still trying to find out who flooded Stubbs Tower. So far no arrests have been made.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com