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Help Support Evicted Wings of Newport Residents

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A group of predominantly elderly, disabled residents from the Wings of Newport apartment have recently been displaced by landlord Chris Onken due to construction in the building's first, third, and fourth floors.

Resident Crystal Rex states: “I finally got a call from Chris for the first time since he put that notice under my door. I told him I was still finding a place to live and needed more time. He told me he was not open to giving more time and that he would start the eviction process on Friday. This isn’t right. We residents know we need to move and we're trying our best but we need help and more time. On top of that it’s two degrees outside and COVID is still a serious issue in Minnesota.”

Residents were asking Zumbro House to meet with them and offer lease extensions before filing evictions as well as providing vouchers for moving expenses.

In late October, Zumbro House Inc. gave the residents notices to vacate on November 30th. Residents dependent on services had no time to find alternative housing as winter weather set in. Promised services such as administered medication, dining, and nursing staff were never realized or were inadequate, and in some instances, unlicensed.

Chris Onken of Zumbro House had been unwilling to negotiate more time for residents outside of court.

Zumbro House has indicated they plan to upgrade the building and re-rent at a higher price. The building is newly constructed and opened its doors on Sept 1st, 2020. There is no significant visible damage. Refurbishment is a pretext for cleaning out the building of its current tenants and avoiding consequences for unfulfilled promises.

Newport, MN. Dec. 9th, 2021 —  Residents of Wings of Newport held a press conference on Thursday, December 9th at 11:00 AM to speak out against mistreatment and the threat of eviction. House members were dismissive of the tenants and their situations. 

UPDATE FROM DECEMBER 14TH -- Newport renters sue landlord for terminating their leases 

The six Newport residents have filed a lawsuit against landlord Chris Onken. The lawsuit charges that the 200-unit Wings of Newport is trying to evict them illegally and failed to provide needed services. The renter advocacy non-profit Housing Justice Center filed the suit for the residents, which is protecting them from eviction. The suit asks Washington County District Court to order Wings of Newport to let the renters remain in their apartments and to continue providing services. It also asks the court to appoint an administrator for the facility, who would manage the Wings facility.

The lawsuit said that Wings should pay fines, “retroactive and prospective rent abatement” and attorneys’ fees. The suit didn’t give estimates of what the total cost might be. When Wings of Newport opened in August 2020, it was licensed as an assisted living facility, providing services for disabled and senior renters, but Wings did not provide those services consistently, including daily check-in visits, administration of medicines, meal preparation and responses to emergency call buttons. The residents feared retaliation if they complained.

More details in the link above.
These Newport tenants desperately need help with legal expenses, deposits, application fees, storage unit fees, paying movers, packing, etc. Subsidizing rent is also another possibility if enough funds are met. These people paid their rent on time and did all they were expected as tenants, and yet have still been pushed out of housing, a basic human right. They have nowhere else to go and anything helps.

Distribution of funds will be supported by LOGO Community Support Services  , HomeLine , and Elite Housing Services .
For more details, please read these following articles:


LOGO Community Support Services
Newport, MN

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