45 Newport students forced to relocate from apartment complex, district says

A district spokesperson said Thursday the students can continue to enroll in the district even if they have to move outside of it.
Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 6:43 PM EDT
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CAMPBELL COUNTY, Ky. (WXIX) - Newport Independent Schools is among those looking to help the hundreds of tenants relocating from the Victoria Square Apartments.

A district spokesperson says as many as 45 students will be impacted after the apartments’ new owner delivered vacate notices en masse ahead of planned renovations.

The spokesperson says students may continue enrollment at Newport Independent Schools even if they move out of the district, though the district can’t provide transportation for those coming from outside its area.

“We are concerned about the additional trauma families are facing with the loss of housing. School enrollment and attendance for students can be one less worry,” said Jennifer Stewart, the district’s director of pupil personnel and student services.

PREVIOUSLY | ‘It’s not humane:’ Vacate notices delivered en masse to Newport apartment tenants

The apartments’ new owner, Sunset Property Solutions, will soon start construction on the complex, which sits in the shadow of what eventually will become the 25-acre mixed-use Ovation development on the banks of the Ohio and Licking rivers.

Construction will proceed in two phases, giving some existing tenants 60 days to vacate. Others have until the end of January.

An SPS management spokesperson says they will be honoring the leases of those who have year-long lease agreements. The spokesperson stresses SPS is giving month-to-month renters minimum 60 days notice.

Stewart says there is concern around the district about the “upheaval and stress our families are facing with school starting in less than a month.”

Missy Hambrick is going through just that. She lives in the complex and must vacate by end of September. Her 16-year-old grandson attends Newport High School.

“He’s playing football, and you know, he’s doing good, yeah,” she said. “And Newport, so, I mean, I was worried about if I moved to, like, Dayton or Bellevue, would he be able to stay in the school district.”

Hambrick says the district’s news Thursday is a relief. But she and others remain in shock over the move.

“A whole new level of stress,” said Rodney Hauck, another Victoria Square resident whose child is in the Newport Independent School District. “Because, it’s difficult to find a place that you can afford moving into.”

The district launched an effort Thursday to provide assistance and information to student-tenants and their families.

Impacted families can contact Student Support Services at 859.292.3001 or their child’s school for enrollment assistance. Stewart says the district will also help with those needing school clothing, hygiene items, school supplies and/or food. Those families can also receive food assistance from the district’s Stock the Kitchen food pantry each Thursday.

“These families are going to have to save money to pay their rent, last month’s rent, first month’s rent at a new place, and to pay the deposit,” Stewart said. “We are trying to take something off of their plate.”

The City of Newport says the Brighton Center has established a housing hotline at 859.491.8303 to provide resources and assist Victoria Square residents in finding new housing. City officials have also been in contact with the developer to provide resources to help displaced residents.

“The City of Newport remains extremely concerned about the welfare and well-being of our Victoria Square residents and have been closely monitoring the situation,” a city spokesperson said Wednesday.

The city released a statement Tuesday that notes the apartments are privately owned and that the city “does not have the power to force landlords to accept vouchers or dictate leasing terms.”

The Northern Kentucky Branch of the NAACP has scheduled an informational meeting with Victoria Square Apartments residents to discuss the current and future status of their living situation. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 27 at 6 p.m. at the Second Baptist Church on Brighton Street in Newport.

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