As a fire ravaged Tivoli Apartments last week, the 75 affected residents were not the only ones thinking about a new place to live.
While many UCF students prepare to move into new leases for the upcoming school year, those who planned to move to Tivoli are now left without a home as their proposed buildings are now nonexistent.
Cierra Pryor, a sophomore political science major, had planned to move to Tivoli in the fall, but is now stuck with nowhere to go.
When the fire seemed to have only engulfed one building, Pryor said she was relieved. But when she soon realized it spread to another — the building she had planned to live in — she was shocked.
“I didn’t know how to react, so I just laughed,” she said. “We knew we weren’t going to be able to find another place for all of us so late in the summer.”
While one of her roommates has found a place to stay, Pryor and her other roommate are still left homeless for the fall.
“It seems the only places left are either really expensive or high-crime areas,” she said.
With the loss of her future home, and very little hope for the upcoming semester, Pryor said Tivoli management wasn’t of much help.
“When I went to get my deposit back, it was just a sort of ‘hi and bye’ thing,” she said. “When I asked if they knew of any other places, the staff kind of just looked the other way.”
Ernesto Espinosa, another future Tivoli resident, unfortunately had a similar experience.
“They tried. They couldn’t give us their full attention,” he said with a trailing voice. “They tried.”
However, Orianne Snook, chief financial officer of Emmer Development Communities, said Tivoli did what it could to find residents homes.
“We reached out to other apartments. We were 100 percent occupied; we didn’t have any availability,” she said. “A few may have been able to move in because of some backing out, but we reached out to other complexes in the area, and we put them in contact with those complexes.”
Snook said residents trying to move in received full refunds and were directed to apartments with availability.
Espinosa, a senior industrial engineering major, had also signed a lease for fall and was not expecting to be put in this type of situation.
“We had the option to choose between building numbers six or eight. We chose the earlier move in date. Had we have chosen the other, we wouldn’t have been affected,” Espinosa said.
Unlike Pryor, Espinosa was able to find an alternative living situation for fall, which allows him and his roommates to move in the same day they move out of Tivoli.
Jose Yantas, a senior marketing major who currently lives at Knights Circle, said when he first heard about the fire, it didn’t cross his mind that the destruction would have a direct effect on him — he was mainly concerned about the other residents.
However, he contacted Tivoli the morning after the fire and was told his apartment was one of the two set ablaze.
Fortunately, he was able to find another place to live for fall, but won’t be able to move immediately like Espinosa. He said he’ll probably have to get a hotel or stay with a friend for a little while.
Johnathan Kuntz is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.