City: Latitude Five25 fully released; all residents offered temporary housing

City officials report that the Latitude Five25 buildings lacked potable water, heat, and a working fire extinguishing system.

COLUMBUS, Ohio. The City of Columbus reports that all Latitude Five25 residents have fled their homes after the buildings were deemed unsafe.

The complex was evacuated over Christmas when some of the pipes burst due to low temperatures, causing damage to the electrical wiring.

While some were able to stay with friends or family, others were taken to the Dodge Community Center, which was set up by the American Red Cross as an emergency shelter.

The city says the Latitude Five25 buildings, located at 525 Sawyer Boulevard, had no potable water, heat, or a working fire suppression system. In addition, only one of the four elevators is operational.

As a result, the city gave a Friday noon deadline for all residents to leave the complex.

The city says 104 residents have been temporarily housed in local hotels. The emergency shelter will close on Friday at 5:00 pm as all residents have been moved to temporary housing.

“While finding temporary housing for more than 100 residents has not been easy, I am very proud of the collaboration between the city, the county and several agencies to make this happen,” Mayor Andrew Ginter said. “Next steps are permanent resident housing and a lawsuit to hold owners accountable for leaving apartments in an unlivable state.”

Franklin County Board of Commissioners President Erica K. Crowley said she is proud of how the county, the city, and local partners have come together to support these residents.

“We still have a long way to go – finding new permanent housing and getting justice for our displaced neighbors – but we will be there with them and get through this together,” she said.

The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority is working to find permanent housing for those residents who are already eligible for vouchers. RH Brown and Company and the Board of Shelters are working to find permanent housing for all other former residents.

Both the city and Franklin County have committed $750,000 each for housing and support for residents during the transition.

Residents who require additional assistance in identifying temporary or permanent housing options are asked to call the Shelter Board at 614-221-9195 or send an email to [email protected].

The East Franklin County Employment and Family Services Opportunity Center, located at 1055 Mt Vernon Avenue, also serves as a resource center for affected residents until 5:00 pm Friday. The East Opportunity Center will be closed on Monday, January 2, but will reopen on Tuesday, January 3 at 8:00 am.

The District is also asking organizations, groups or individuals interested in “adopting” a displaced family to register through this link.

On Tuesday, Columbus City Attorney Zack Klein filed contempt charges against the owners of Paxe Latitude apartments. The hearing has been scheduled for January 3, 2023.

The City says this could result in the transfer of the property to a management group that will take over the management, facilitate repairs and begin preparing the property for sale.

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