COLUMBIA, S.C. — Richland County officials say council has pledged $150,000 to assist efforts to aid displaced residents of Allen Benedict Court Apartments.

At its meeting on Feb. 5, officials say council voted unanimously to provide funding to assist residents with day-to-day necessities and directed staff to coordinate with the City of Columbia and community agencies helping the more than 400 residents displaced from their Allen Benedict Court homes last month.

“We can’t give them a new home,” said council vice chair Dalhi Myers. “But we can make their temporary home a little happier.”

Staff is developing an implementation plan for council approval at its February 19 meeting before the funding is actually provided in order to ensure agencies receiving funding will use the money specifically to provide direct assistance to the displaced residents to include food distribution, laundry services and relocation assistance.

In addition to the funding assistance, officials say Richland County employees have started a campaign to collect gift cards for displaced residents.

Allen Benedict Court is located less than a mile from the Richland County administration building.

Citing "imminent danger to life," more than 400 residents of Allen Benedict Court, run buy the Columbia Housing Authority, were evacuated after two men were found dead and multiple gas leaks were found last month.

Calvin Witherspoon, Jr. and Derrick Caldwell Roper, both of Allen Benedict Court, Columbia, SC, died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning

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Carbon monoxide, missing smoke alarms, charred closets and infestations were among nearly two dozen violations at the Allen Benedict Court Apartments highlighted in a Columbia Fire Department letter to Columbia Housing Authority.

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