Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo is set to meet with residents displaced from the Ocean Avenue high-rise apartment building that was condemned following a fire there in June.
The mayor was scheduled to meet with the impacted tenants at 9 a.m. Thursday morning. More than 100 people have been displaced from the Water's Edge Apartments, which were deemed by the city "unfit for human habitation" following that fire. Arrigo said he intends to host the meeting to update former residents, address their concerns and help them in their search for permanent housing.
“They took us out of our own home where we pay rent and they changed the locks and kicked us out like we are homeless people," Nicole Avellaneda said. "That’s not right what they are doing.”
The City of Revere just lost a legal battle against the owner of the building, having been denied the chance to take over the property by the Boston Housing Court. Mayor Arrigo said he is "appalled" over the lack of action taken by the court.
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The owners of the apartment complex issued a statement Thursday saying that they have, "diligently pursued all efforts to repair this building, even without the full cooperation of various city officials, and will seek to do so, until all repairs have been made in accordance with all building codes. We understand how challenging this has been for our residents and are committed to doing everything we can to get them back into the building as quickly as possible."
The mayor's office said the city has also moved to foreclose on all three properties owned by the Carabetta Companies for outstanding tax title issues, saying they owe $1.9 million in back taxes. The city has issued more than 70 fines to the company since 2004.
Arrigo is also directing federal COVID relief funds to be used as an emergency fund to assist displaced residents looking for new permanent housing and will look to get those funds reimbursed by Carabetta Companies through legal means.
“We will take every legal action possible against Carabetta for ignoring their legal obligations and total disregard for human dignity and decency as landowners and property managers in our city,” Arrigo said in a statement.
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The June 21 fire broke out on the 11th floor of the building. No serious injuries were reported, but police and fire crews had to rescue multiple people from the building.
Massachusetts Sen. Lydia Edwards previously told NBC10 Boston that she is pushing for Carbetta Companies to be charged criminally. The company has multiple properties, including high-rise buildings in Malden with units available, but Edwards said they are refusing to let tenants who were burned out of their homes in Revere live there.
Carbetta Companies has not responded to calls and emails seeking comment.
Mayor Arrigo said the city will continue to take every legal option necessary to hold the management company accountable.