Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Tenants displaced from the West Avenue Apartments will have the opportunity to receive an emergency housing voucher.
"We can't return to our homes," said Melinda Dell. "We've got property in there. We can't just pick up and move."
City leaders spoke with Dell Wednesday evening about an emergency voucher designed to help her find a new place to live.
"For everyone that qualifies, we're going to have some emergency vouchers for everyone to use to help get housing elsewhere," said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.
The emergency vouchers will be granted through a combined effort of the Columbia Housing Authority and Office of Housing and Urban Development.
"I think it's an amazing help you know," said Unique Samuels, another displaced tenant. "We're all put in a very uncomfortable situation because of the greediness of our property owner."
Samuels says the apartment's owner didn't keep the property maintained. The City of Columbia Fire Marshal issued property owner Kevin Burns a total of 10 citations and deemed on of the property's buildings inhabitable.
"A landlord has to comply with building codes and housing codes. The landlord also has to provide reasonable amounts of heat as well as hot water and running water," said Ashley Thomas with the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center.
Thomas says legal action in a magistrate court is the most likely way to hold the property owner accountable.
"Our priority is making sure you get settled and settled right. But also dealing with the property owner," said Benjamin. "We're going to stay on that. We're not going to relent. Not going to relent."