Residents flooded out of complex forced to find other places to live

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By Kara Dixon – VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Residents flooded out of the Waypoint at Lynnhaven complex are seeking answers after they say property managers gave many of them lease termination notices on Friday.

The apartment complex was flooded during Hurricane Matthew two weeks ago forcing residents to leave. On Saturday, a line of those displaced by the storm stood outside the leasing office hoping to get information about the termination notices.

"They have not given us time to find appropriate places to live. I have a three-year-old son, so I'm standing for him," says resident Diamond Gilmore.

Gilmore and a number of other residents expressed their frustration of not being allowed to get their belongings, which includes birth certificates and other personal documents.

Many were either notified through email or had the notice slipped under their hotel doors. The notice states asbestos was found in many ground level and townhouse units while crews were beginning to fix repairs to damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.

The notice also states those living in the affected units are not allowed to retrieve their personal belongs, unless they are salvageable and not deemed a health hazard after the property has been abated. Property management stated in the notice the it's top priority is the resident's safety.

"It really hurts me because all of my memories of my family members are going to be gone. I don't like that," says 15-year-old Quierra Hawkins.

Hawkins says she has a number of items from deceased family members in her room that she can not retrieve.

Other residents say there are military uniforms, photos of family members who are battling diseases, and an expensive medical bed for a child with cystic fibrosis sealed away in their units. Those residents say they were told if they tried retrieving their belongings, they would be arrested for trespassing.

"They should give us the decision if we want to take the risk. You can't do that to a human being. We have no where to go," says Janet Arena, who uses an electric wheelchair.

Arena says many living in the complex need help. Resident say there are many who are disabled or veterans.

Virginia Beach councilwoman Shannon Kane says she tried to get answers from property management but was escorted off the property.

"I was furious for one. These are the people I represent here in Virginia Beach," Kane says.

Kane says it's heartbreaking hearing the stories from so many of her constituents but does not know how to help at this time.

"It is private property, it is a private company. I don't know what, as a city, we can do until I know the whole picture. I don't know," Kane says.

Those asking for help say they're going to get assistance regardless by sticking together. Many already signed a petition they hope to present to the city to get some type of aid.

"Come with us. Come walk with us, something! Somebody help us," says Gilmore.

10 On Your Side reached out to Kettler, the company listed as the property owner, but have received any statement.

The notice states the abatement project would be completed in about five months. Several residents, who are being housed in hotels by management, say they were told they needed to find another place to stay after October 30.

Residents are upset because they were not notified enough time in advance. Many of the documents they need to move are located inside their units.