RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Virginia hotel operator is offering free rooms to dozens of Richmond families dealing with broken heating systems in their public housing apartments.

Shamin Hotels CEO Neil Amin told the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Thursday that the Creighton Court residents who take him up will be given rooms at a hotel about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the complex.

The city's Redevelopment and Housing Authority announced some residents will also be offered vacant public housing units elsewhere in the city.

The housing authority has faced pointed criticism this week after the heating system failures left about 50 families relying on space heaters amid frigid temperatures.

The agency's director said the city is in the process of seeking contractors to make repairs and has to complete a legally required bidding process.