Restoration plan coming for Westlake Apartments

Restoration plan coming for Westlake Apartments

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - There's information coming into our newsroom Wednesday night regarding the fate of a Section 8 housing complex in Chatham County.

The damage caused by Hurricane Matthew at Westlake Apartments was so bad, a representative with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says it was a top priority for the regional disaster assessment team.

The demolition and material removal have already begun, but there's still a lot of work to be done.

Drywall, cabinets and ruined personal items litter the front yards of several Westlake apartments following the first round of work commissioned by the property owners, The Aspen Companies. 
But some renters think this kind of work will only scrape the surface of the problems caused by flood waters.

Westlake resident Tiarra Williams said, "I think by gutting the apartments is going to do anything. You have to tear it down, stir up the soil, put more soil down and raise these apartments. That's the only way."

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is working closely with The Aspen Companies, and as early as Thursday will have the New Jersey-based owner's plan for community-wide restoration.

"Once we receive that restoration plan, we'll review it. We'll also review the repairs that they will make to the complex. It's my understanding that there's a rehab crew on site now," said Jereon Brown, the General Deputy Assistant Secretary for HUD.

Until HUD has the restoration plan in hand, it can't give any timelines for restoration completion.

Brown said, "We actually have to see how extensive the damage is and how quick they can get restoration crews, qualified restoration crews, in there to do the work."

On top of the restoration, Brown says The Aspen Companies has committed to doing air quality testing in each unit. Air quality is still a major concern for tenants we've spoken to, especially with mold like this growing by the day.

"You can't put a Band-Aid over this and cover it up, there's no way," said Williams.

When the restoration begins, residents will be relocated temporarily. Williams said she still doesn't know where her family will be sent, and that's a big concern for her.

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