The Omaha, Neb.-based owner of Muscatine Tower Apartments is giving its homeless residents three options to pursue, following a Nov. 21 fire there that caused 86 residents to temporarily lose their homes — right before Thanksgiving.

“We would like to express our deepest sympathies for you during this trying time. We do appreciate your patience and understanding while we work to ensure that each of our valued residents are being accommodated,” says a Nov. 30 letter from Andrea Frick, regional portfolio manager for Seldin Company, which owns the apartment complex.

The letter asks residents to choose their preferred option and mail it back to the management company with updated contact information as soon as possible. The options are:

  • Terminate your lease and move out of Muscatine Tower Apartments.
  • Be placed in a hotel (paid by Seldin), while continuing to pay your full portion of rent.
  • To stay with friends or family until your apartment is ready to be occupied, while not having to pay rent.

Over a week has gone by since the fire, but most tenants still don’t have access to their apartments, fostering increased anxiety as the holiday season grows near. Many tenants fear the worst.

“Rumors are running rampant I’ve heard some outrageous stuff,” resident Jeanne Bristol said Monday. “I hope they’re not expecting rent checks Dec. 1. That’s a big issue. A lot of people are extremely concerned they’re going to get evicted.”

Because of the expedited evacuation from the apartments and transition to local hotels; as well as hotels’ additional fees to house animals, many residents had to leave their pets behind.