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City, county leaders working on next steps after Latitude Five25 residents forced to evacuate

For the last few nights, Latitude Five25 residents have been hunkered down at the Dodge Park Recreation Center as a temporary shelter.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Residents of Latitude Five25 will wake up for the next week at an emergency shelter while city and county leaders figure out the next steps for those displaced from their homes.

For the last few nights, they’ve been hunkered down at the Dodge Park Recreation Center as a temporary emergency shelter used by the American Red Cross.

This is after residents had to evacuate a building because of pipes bursting and electrical issues.

10TV spoke with State Representative Dontavius Jarrells, who said he used to live in the Latitude Five25 apartments.

"As someone who has lived there for three years prior to me leaving, I mean, there's a whole assortment of issues that we are now seeing," said Jarrells. "We've got to persevere and help families get back."

Jarrells said he attended a meeting on Wednesday to help people get the resources they need and get back into housing. He said no final decisions were made.

"My hope is as soon as possible we'll get families into a place where they get their needs met,” said Jarrells.

Linda Prysock has lived at the complex for the last 12 years. She remembered when it was seemingly perfect.

"It was like a one-package deal they had everything…you didn't have to go outside for nothing,” she said.

Prysock described Sunday as a nightmare. 

“A Christmas nightmare on Christmas Day,” she said. "We didn't have toilets and didn't have heat and didn't have water and power some people didn't have power."

RELATED: ‘We deserve to have a home’: Displaced Latitude Five25 Apartment residents demand answers

The center was supposed to close Wednesday morning, leaving Prysock and others wondering what will they do next, but the city and volunteers stepped in to keep the shelter up and running for Latitude's residents. City and county leaders are now working together to figure out the next steps for the property.

“We feel like as public officials and public servants we have an obligation to assist these residents,” said Joy Bivens, the Deputy County Administrator for Health and Human Services for Franklin County.

She said their goal is to get people the resources they need and get them into temporary warm housing.  

"We're talking about human life, right so it should be important to all of us to take care of our neighbors. We're talking about seniors, we're talking about veterans, we're talking about children,” said Bivens.

Help is also coming from the city attorney. On Tuesday, Zach Klein’s office announced they will hold the owners in contempt of court order which should lead to the transfer of the property to a receivership group to take it over, conduct repairs and prepare the property to be sold.

10TV reached out to Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, who said next week they will go to court and ask the judge for receivership. They are also looking to have the property owner pay for all the costs that have accrued.

"We want to get these properties out of the hands of some of these derelict landowners who don't care about the tenants," said Klein.

Prysock said this is rock bottom for her and many others.

"We're all sharing this nightmare that we hope will be a miracle, but we're in the same boat I’ll never forget this Christmas,” said Prysock.

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