KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — People are still struggling after that devastating EF2 tornado uprooted their lives earlier this month.
Hundreds of Lovell Crossing Apartment Homes residents were displaced due to tornado damage. Some said the apartment complex has been secretive and unaccommodating to the circumstances at hand. One East Tennessee family has been affected even more given their own circumstances.
Laurel Newman described her brother, Julian Battise, by saying, “Julian, he just has the biggest heart and even if you aren’t a stranger, he makes you feel like you aren’t one.”
Battise is on the Autism Spectrum and is part of an assisted living program. When the EF2 tornado hit his West Knox County apartment earlier this month, 32-year-old Battise thought he was just going to have to stay with his sister for a few days before he could return.
When he found out those plans would change, “it was tragic,” he said.
Battise has been at Lovell Crossing for around three years.
“[It has] friendly neighbors, friendly people, even the landlords too,” Battise said. “They got a swimming pool. They got a gym. We got a tennis court and we got some friendly neighbors.”
Complex management recently sent Julian an email saying he had three days to move out.
“To arrange that for two special needs individuals, and what, 400 homes have been affected? There’s a lot of people who are needing movers and needing assistance and it’s been difficult for them to say the least,” Newman said.
Newman said her home is open to her brother for whatever time he needs, but Julian likes sticking to his schedule.
“The second I found out about this I said, ‘bring Julian into my house.. Let him decompress.’ So he packed a bag and he came over but because Julian likes his routine. I’m nowhere near his work, I’m nowhere where he regularly goes.”
Now, Julian is having to put all of his belongings in storage until he can find permanent housing.
“It’s too difficult because some people lost their houses and their stuff and it’s like a difficult thing to see,” Battise. “People loved that place but there’s one thing about it, they can’t go back no more.”
Newman said she wants more transparency from the complex.
“I would love to see Lovell Crossing realize that people have schedules that, to say three days notice you have to get your stuff and move out because we’re blocking it off by a schedule, that’s unreasonable to a lot of people.”
We have reached out to Lovell Crossing management on multiple occasions including again today. So far, we have not heard back by the the time this article was published.