Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Apartments house people affected by tornado

The tornado that hit Tuscaloosa on April 27 left hundreds of people displaced, including some University of Alabama students. While the tornado did not directly hit the dorms and apartments on campus, there were those students dwelling in off-campus housing that needed help.

The off-campus division of UA Housing and Residential Communities was home to some students, as were many student-heavy apartment complexes.

The popular apartment complexes Sterling Crimson and University Downs were two of the places that housed tornado victims soon after April 27. While Sterling Crimson is solely student housing, University Downs houses all types of residents. According to the staff at Sterling Crimson, they were able to provide housing and allow students to move in days after the storms.

“It makes us feel that we can have an establishment where we can help the people in need,” said Whit Stephens, leasing manager. “A lot of places were in bad situations too, where not only did they lose tenants, but they don’t have any places people in need could move in to. We were fortunate enough to have a place to house people because we didn’t experience any damage ourselves.”

Stephens said corporate officers of Sterling Crimson donated $10,000 to the relief fund to assist those who were affected by the tornado.

While rumors surfaced that University Downs was uprooted by the tornado, the complex only suffered damage to its roof and residents’ cars. They were able to provide temporary housing to victims at no cost. According to University Downs leasing specialist John White, most people left town, and there were some who left for the summer but opened their doors to those who needed shelter.

“[We didn’t see an] increase; it was basically the same,” White said. “I think the main reason we didn’t have an increase is because a lot of people didn’t actually think we were still here; they didn’t want to be on site where the tornado hit.”

White said the complex was doing well, with leases being 80 to 90 percent full leading up to the tornado.

The University did provide free temporary housing through the end of June for 120 students, faculty and staff members who were displaced. According to UA associate director of housing Alicia Browne, there were mainly cases of students looking for help in locating other off-campus housing facilities rather than looking to move back onto campus.

Julie Elmore, assistant director for off-campus and greek housing, oversaw aid of students in need. Elmore said there was not one person who did not find what he needed.

“We had very few interactions with students looking for campus housing,” Browne said. “Their interaction with our office was through our off-campus resources. [Julie Elmore] had a lot of one-on-one interaction with students who were looking for something else off campus. She was a tremendous resource there.”

Apartments such as Arlington Square in Alberta City, where many students resided, are now rubble. Those in charge of the property are unsure of what is next. As for houses like those in Forest Lake, it is up to the owners of the homes to decide whether or not they will rebuild.

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