COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Hope given to residents of the Ralston Towers in Columbus is slowly being taken away, they said.
New details have been released on the “emergency vouchers” a U.S. Congressman promised to fight for after his tour of the site Monday.
The Ralston failed an inspection last month and the owner of the building has two months to meet federal standards. Congressman Drew Ferguson from Georgia said he wants residents to be able to move out before that next inspection even comes.
"I’m willing to go out and fight for these residents to get a voucher to move out tomorrow, having them stay in here for 60 days is unacceptable,” said Ferguson.
Ferguson was visibly agitated after touring the century old, 10-story Ralston Tower on Monday.
He said he wants the nearly 200 residents to be able to move out as soon as possible. Ferguson is writing a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development asking for emergency vouchers.
“Yes, I’m ready," one resident said. "Pass the vouchers out. Let’s do it.”
There’s just one problem. HUD said they do not give out emergency vouchers. Residents will only get ‘tenant protection vouchers’ if the building fails the next inspection, meaning HUD cancels the Section 8 housing contract and residents have to find a new place to live.
“All I can do is pray that somebody will help us," Lueshionda Sexton said.
Some residents are looking forward to moving out of the 1914 building.
“I’m fine with that. I’m ready to move now," one resident said. "I’m kind of stuck, that’s why I’ve been here as long as I have. But I’m ready to mov. I’m ready to get out of here. I’m tired of living like this. it is an embarrassment.”
Others don’t want to leave.
“I prefer to stay here as long as I can,” Hope Jackson said.
“When I came here," I was looking for a roof over my head and they offered it to me," Willie Thomas said.