VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – 10 On Your Side has been talking with upset residents at the Waypoint at Lynnhaven complex since Saturday.
Crews found asbestos while fixing damage caused by Hurricane Matthew — and now some residents can’t retrieve their belongings.
The apartment’s management company told WAVY News that terminating the leases was a difficult decision, but they want to put the health and safety of residents first. For many of the residents, that’s not enough. According to the notice they got on Friday night, crews could start throwing out belongings left inside of apartments starting at 5 p.m. on Monday.
Johvanny Torres is one of many residents at Waypoint at Lynnhaven asking, “what’s next?” He’s been working with the city after finding out that all leases on the ground floor of the complex had been terminated.
For Torres, it’s personal. His mother lives on the ground floor and is not being allowed back into her home.
“She has things that belong to my father, who passed away when I was 13 that there’s no way of getting back if they don’t give it to her. That means a lot to me,” he said.
Home Inspector Floyd Gibbs estimates that 50 percent of the homes in the area have asbestos. He hasn’t been inside of Waypoint at Lynnhaven, but he thinks people will be okay.
“What’s happening here is in no way, form, or fashion dangerous to their health or dangerous to their products or anything else,” said Gibbs. He says as long as it’s wet asbestos that’s not being ground up and continually disturbed, it’s not an issue.
Gibbs said, “It would take an astronomical amount of time in a scenario that we don’t have anymore that would even remotely start to cause problems down the road.”
The apartment company sent a notice to residents on Friday night telling them of the asbestos. In that notice, they list units that are completely off limits, where people cannot retrieve their belongings. In other units, people can sign waivers to get their belongings — up until 5 p.m. Monday.
Torres is hoping they can extend that. He said, “We’re sticking together period to the end, ’til we know exactly that everything was justified.”
The city is opening up a resource center at Holy Apostles Church on Lynnhaven Parkway. It will be open from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. City Councilwoman Shannon Kane said it will be similar to what residents experienced at Bow Creek Recreaction Center after Hurricane Matthew.
Local charities are also getting involved. Jammie Abbott, co-director of HotelKids.Org, said, “We act as a streamlining agency so that if families are in need, we can connect them with the resources that are available.”