Crestview Towers Residents Bracing for Long Displacement

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Crestview Towers residents are still displaced from their homes more than three weeks after they were forced to evacuate the building.

North Miami Beach officials ordered the 156-unit building evacuated following an audit of high-rise buildings, 40-years-old or older. The move came after the condo collapse in Surfside.

The Crestview Towers Condominium was the subject of a Jan. 11 recertification report that found the building “was structurally and electrically unsafe,” according to city officials.

The most recent inspection from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue shows 39 code violations at the condo building.

“We put most of them in a safe hotel setting as we continue to work to find them housing,” said Ron Book, the chairman of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. 

Book told NBC 6 the Homeless Trust was one of the organizations that stepped in to help following the evacuation.

He said they placed residents with no place to go in hotels, but they won’t be covering the cost.

“We intend to send a bill to the condominium association for the cost we are out paying right now,” Book said. 

It’s something that residents will be paying through their monthly maintenance fee, according to the condo association attorney Mariel Tollinchi.

“It’s been a group effort but the association is accepting responsibility for it and they are going to be billed for it,” Tollinchi said.

During a Zoom call with NBC 6 Responds, Crestview Towers residents questioned why they were not given more notice before they were evacuated.

“All of us feel that we shouldn’t have been kicked out of our homes. We should have stayed and asked for more information,” a resident told NBC 6.

NBC 6 Responds took those concerns to North Miami Beach City Manager Arthur Sorey.

“The city was in the same position as the residents. Me nor anybody on my staff woke up the morning of July 2 knowing they were going to have to evacuate this building,” Sorey said.

He said, despite the condo’s 40-year recertification being years overdue, the city did not get the documents showing the building was unsafe until they requested them during the recent audit.

“I empathize with the residents of Crestview but we had a moral and legal obligation to take a stand at that point to make sure everyone is safe,” Sorey said.

But for some residents, time is running out.

People, who are currently in hotels set up by the Homeless Trust, have until this week to find housing.

We are told the Homeless Trust is working with the county to come up with a plan in case more buildings have to be evacuated.

A spokesperson for the City of North Miami Beach told NBC 6 they cannot provide a timeline for residents to return, adding it depends on when the HOA corrects the violations noted by the city and fire department. 

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