Low income boarding home in Quakertown needs million dollars in renovations

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Friday, October 11, 2019
Low income boarding home needs million dollars in renovations
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Low income boarding home needs million dollars in renovations. Becca Hendrickson has more on Action News at 5 p.m. on October 10, 2019.

QUAKERTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- It was an unnerving morning for about 100 people who live at the Bush House Hotel, a boarding house in Quakertown, Pennsylvania.

"They're making us think this and think that and maybe we have to get kicked out. That's crazy. They're making me crazy right now," said Laura Arnaudo, one of the residents. She was convinced she'd be homeless by noon.

"It would break my heart. I've been here a long time. They're going to put me out on the street," she said.

Arnaudo waited in the lobby as the borough and inspectors went through the building, convinced they were going to choose to condemn it.

"The last thing we wanted to do was condemn the building and put these people out on the street," said Douglas Wilhelm, the code enforcement officer for the Borough of Quakertown.

He said the inspection was to check on conditions, hoping they would find improvements since a deadly fire in April 2018. The section of the building where the fire happened in still blocked off.

Wilhelm says inspectors also found a bug infestation in four rooms, among other things.

"We know some of them have to be taken care of, down to electrical issues, mold issues, issues with doorways, things like that, that have to be corrected immediately," he said.

The borough decided to give the building's owner 45 days to begin a million dollars worth of renovations.

"That would be fantastic if the repairs weren't so expensive that he couldn't possibly afford it without insurance," said Anthony Diulio, the attorney representing the owner, Tom Skiffington.

"That's why we have insurance. If your house burns down, we're not expecting you to rebuild it on your own dime," said Diulio.

He continued to say they filed an insurance claim to get the money.

People like Arnaudo, however, say they're worried about what's going to happen after 45 days.

"I think they're really trying hard to close it down and it's sad because the people who live here are poor, they're not rich," she said.