North End

‘Nobody Really Has Answers': Displaced North End Residents in the Dark 2 Weeks After Roof Collapse

A partial roof collapse at a vacant building in Boston's North End has left residents of adjoining buildings unable to return home since Feb. 23

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The tenants who were forced out of their nearby homes after the roof of a vacant building partially collapsed two weeks ago in Boston's North End are still not being allowed back inside.

While they understand safety comes first, the residents are growing frustrated over what they say is a lack of communication from the city.

"It's been tough because it's your belongings," said tenant Andretti Stanziani. "It's your life."

The partial roof collapse of a vacant building in Boston's North End has left residents of neighboring buildings displaced for a week so far.

Stanziani was only able to grab four items before he and other tenants were told to get out after the collapse on Fleet Street on Feb. 23. Since then, he has been living in hotels and furnished rentals, which he is paying for out of his own pocket.

Last week, Boston Inspectional Services condemned the building that collapsed as a result of years of water backup on the roof, but Stanziani said most of the tenants remain in the dark on a timeline for that process.

In a statement last week, a city spokesperson said Boston Neighborhood Services is regularly checking in with the displaced tenants to help with temporary housing and transportation. The tenants tell NBC10 Boston that is not happening.

"Nobody really has answers for when we'll be able to get in, or even just go back in to get some stuff," one tenant said. "Every time we call the city, they pass the buck on to another department."

Some tenants in Boston's North End had to scramble out into the snow Thursday after part of their roof collapsed.

NBC10 Boston asked Mayor Michelle Wu why guidance is not being communicated.

"The city works all together. In this case, it is a matter of the building itself rather than any administrative or process thing," she said.

Shortly after that comment, a spokesperson for the city sent a follow-up statement. The spokesperson said the city will continue to update impacted residents on the demolition timeline so they can plan accordingly, adding, "While we know the situation is far from ideal, the city has a responsibility to ensure the adjoining buildings to the collapse site are safe before anyone can move back in."

According to Boston Inspectional Services, a demolition permit has been issued, but asbestos removal has to happen first. NBC10 Boston reached out to the owner of the damaged building, but has yet to hear back.

Stanziani is trying to keep his neighbors in the loop, but for now, many of them remain in limbo.

"People need to know what options they have and what resources they have if they don't have money, if they don't have family and if they don't have anywhere to go," Stanziani said.

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