Living in limbo after Hurricane Matthew

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – It’s the last day of hurricane season and people cannot forget the wrath of Hurricane Matthew here in Hampton Roads.

More than seven weeks later, there’s still much to clean up and many people continue to live in hotels and resorts in the area.

Some displaced residents tell 10 On Your Side they are thankful to have roofs over their heads, but they are frustrated by not having control over their living situations.

“Completely destroyed. My whole first floor. Our sectional, our kitchen, our belongings, our shoes, our clothes — destroyed,” said Samantha Cardo, who was displaced after the hurricane.

She says its exhausting.

“To have that feeling of uncertainty of, ‘okay, we have a roof over our head tonight, but we don’t know where we are going to go tomorrow?’ It’s just, it causes so much stress,” Cardo said.

Cardo and her family have been staying at the Atrium Resort in Virginia Beach. Over the weekend, she and other displaced residents got letters saying they had to leave the hotel because of high occupancy.

They reached out to 10 On Your Side, and we learned the letter was a mistake.

Nadine Paniccia, VP of Sales and Marketing with VSA Resorts, said, “It was independently written by a resort manager who didn’t fully understand what we were doing as a company.”

Residents got another letter today. It did say that they have to move properties, but could stay within the company. Between the three resorts, they are providing housing for 48 families.

“In a perfect world, we would love for customers, one of these folks, to stay in one of the properties, uninterrupted, 30, 60, 90 days,” said Paniccia.

But as Paniccia explains, people can claim permanent residence if they stay somewhere for more than 30 days, which could complicate things.

She says, “The challenge with that is after 30 days, a person in the real world can claim residency and then people would have to go through the eviction process if they wouldn’t leave. We’re sorry that we have to do it that way, but it’s the only responsible way to do it.”

If residents want to stay in the same spot, they will have to pay more — a rate the hotel says is still discounted.

“We are going to continue to make these people feel at home or as much at home as they can possibly feel until they get their permanent situations,” said Paniccia.

Folks staying in the Atrium, Ocean Sands and Ocean Key will have to find new places to go come February because of tourism increasing.

The City of Virginia Beach says they are still operating their housing crisis hotline. The number to call is 757-227-5932.