Displaced residents work to find permanent housing

Local News

NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. (KCAU) – Some residents of a North Sioux City apartment building are still without a permanent place to call home after a fire gutted much of the building on Monday.

The American Red Cross has put up displaced residents at the Hampton Inn in North Sioux City.

The City has also been coordinating lunch and dinner, and gift cards have been given to residents to buy essentials.

But residents tell KCAU they just want somewhere to call home.

KCAU first spoke with Betty Barnett after she helped evacuate residents from the Northport Apartments. Days later, she went back to see if her belongings were salvageable.

“Everything is gone. It’s just ashes. The whole thing is gone. There wasn’t really anything to save. I wanted to get some pictures but we couldn’t even get in there,” Barnett said.

Barnett said she has family in town and may stay with them until she can find a new place.

Resident Beverly Whitsel was able to recover most of her belongings but said she’ll be forced to move out of state.

“My daughter came back from Arizona to get me and I’m leaving Friday to Arizona. I’m leaving all my friends… I’ve been here 20 years and I know everyone here in North Sioux. It’s a hard situation for someone 80 years old to go through this, but I’ll survive. I’m OK. I’m kind of numb. Depressed, you know?” Whitsel said.

Betty Oldenkamp is the President and CEO of Lutheran Social Services South Dakota which owns the Northport Apartments.

“We have been identifying apartment complexes that have vacancies. Really focusing on low-income senior housing options because that’s what this program was. We have identified places that have openings available. We have gotten applications into the hands of people,” Oldenkamp said.

Some displaced residents tell KCAU they’ve had trouble applying for apartments. Oldenkamp said they’re helping expedite applications with other apartment complexes and they’re now working to get social services to help with that process.

Oldenkamp said once the insurance company evaluates the property, Lutheran Social Services will be able to inform residents on when, or if, they’ll be able to grab their belongings.

Lutheran Social Services have an account set up where people can donate money that will go directly to residents.

The American Red Cross and Dunes Family Pharmacy are also collecting donations.

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