COLUMBUS, Ohio — The City of Columbus says all Latitude Five25 residents have vacated after the buildings were deemed unsafe.
The complex was evacuated back on Christmas Day when some pipes burst due to the freezing temperatures, causing electrical damage.
While some were able to stay with friends or family, other residents were taken to the Dodge Community Center which was set up to be an emergency shelter by the American Red Cross.
The city says the buildings at Latitude Five25, located at 525 Sawyer Blvd., were found to be without potable water, heat and a working fire suppression system. Additionally, only one of four elevators are working.
As a result, the city gave a deadline of Friday at noon for all residents to leave the complex.
The city says 104 residents have been housed temporarily at area hotels. The emergency shelter will be closing Friday at 5 p.m. as all residents have been moved to interim housing.
“While it has been a heavy lift to find interim housing for more than 100 residents, I am extremely proud of the collaboration between the city, county and multiple agencies to make it happen,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther. “The next steps are permanent housing for residents and court action to hold the owners responsible for allowing the apartments to deteriorate to unlivable conditions.”
Franklin County Board of Commissioners President Erica C. Crawley said she was proud of the way the county, city and community partners rallied to support these residents.
“There’s still a long journey ahead of us — finding new permanent housing and pursuing justice for our displaced neighbors — but we will be there with them, and we will see this through together,” she said.
The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority is working to find permanent housing for those residents who already qualified for vouchers. The R.H. Brown and Company and Community Shelter Board are working to find permanent housing for all other former residents.
Both the city and Franklin County have each committed $750,000 for housing and support costs for the residents during the transition.
Residents that require additional assistance to identify temporary or permanent housing options are asked to call the Community Shelter Board at 614-221-9195 or email@example.com.
The Franklin County Job and Family Services East Opportunity Center, located at 1055 Mt. Vernon Avenue, is also serving as a resource hub for impacted residents through 5 p.m. Friday. The East Opportunity Center hub will be closed Monday, Jan. 2, but will reopen Tuesday, Jan. 3, at 8 a.m.
The county is also asking organizations, groups or individuals interested in “adopting” a displaced family to sign up at this link.
On Tuesday, Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein filed contempt charges against the apartment owners, Paxe Latitude. A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 3, 2023.
The city says this could set in motion the transfer of the property to a receivership group to take over, facilitate repair and begin to prepare the property for sale.