Vulnerable Christchurch residents forced out of their quake-damaged homes say they had to accept a council offer of new accommodation "or face homelessness".
Solo mothers with no means of transport will now have to move across town, and fear their children will have to change schools.
The Christchurch City Council yesterday announced the closure of its 89-unit social housing complex in Brougham St after a detailed engineering evaluation (DEE) found it did not meet the building code.
Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson said the timing could not be worse and she had "real concerns" for the residents.
"It's the middle of winter, these are some of the most vulnerable people in our community, and it's just as bad as it gets, really."
Elderly residents, single parents and people with disabilities and mental health problems were offered new homes yesterday in other council buildings. The residents told Fairfax they were not angry at the council, but just felt in a hopeless situation.
They were given a letter that said they should "consider offers seriously" or face a lengthy wait. The letter said 200 people were on the waiting list for the city's social housing.
Debbora Gilmore said 10 of the residents had been placed in Airedale Courts in the city centre.
She was worried about her 7-year-old son Nico, who attended Waltham School.
"I don't have a car and I don't know how I'll get him to school . . . He was crying when I told him he might have to move."
Gilmore said she wanted to stay in Waltham but said "the council made us feel like we had no choice".
"You had to say yes to the option they were giving you or face homelessness. They said it would be a long wait otherwise and I don't have a car or a garage to sleep in."
Single mother Aimi Amano was reduced to tears by the news.
"It's just such a shock . . . Seven days is nothing."
Amano was offered a two-bedroom unit at the council's Conference St complex in the central city.
"My son [Shannon] goes to Opawa School . . . It's on the other side of town, so I don't know how I will get him to school every day."
Victoria Rangiwhetu was not at home yesterday and did not receive the letter about the meeting.
"So I haven't been given anywhere to live . . . My cousin and her baby are staying with me and I have no idea what we're going to do."
Errol Hill, 68, has lived at the complex since 1974 and said he had been expecting earthquake damage to force its closure.
"There's nothing you can do about it, but having seven days to leave after 38 years is a bit of a shock."
Residents at the complex told Fairfax about 60 people were living at Brougham Village. The council said only 36 tenants would have to move but that did not include other people living in the units, including children.
Council community services general manager Michael Aitken said six tenants who live in parts of the complex that meet more than 34% of the code could stay at the complex.
He said 47 units were already empty because of earthquake damage.
Brougham Village was opened in the late 1970s. Thirty years later the New Zealand Institute of Architects gave it an award for enduring architecture. Its architect was Don Cowey, who was killed in Redcliffs on February 22, 2011.