News 3 has obtained a copy of July’s U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspection that put Ralston Towers on the clock to fix the facility or lose the federal vouchers the nearly 200 residents depend on.
This comes as Ralston residents wait on a follow-up inspection. There is an angst from those inside the downtown Columbus low-income housing complex.
“People are scared,” said Ralston resident Marion Bass. “They really don’t know which way to turn, who to ask this, who to ask that. In my opinion, people are just confused.”
There has been bad news for residents for the last couple of years.
A landmark judgment in a wrongful death lawsuit brought the continuing struggles at the Ralston Towers to the public eye.
The death of Charles Hart in 2017 showed deficiencies at the Ralston Towers, a government housing facility in Columbus. Many stories of the struggles residents continue to face are still coming out, but unfortunately those are just a few of the many.
Local congressmen Drew Ferguson, R-West Point, and Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, toured the facility after an inspection showed a lack of compliance to health and safety code, as well as the building’s history of neglect and failure to meet the standards of maintaining “decent, safe, and sanitary” conditions.
The Ralston Towers failed, with a score of 42 out of 100, far below the 60 required to pass.
The inspection report gave a clearer picture of how bad the conditions inside are, outlining problems with rats, mice, and bedbugs, as well as issues with fixtures, toilets, paint, walls, ceilings, mold, and more.
The owners of the Ralston, New Jersey-based PF Holdings, had until Oct. 1 to make the necessary repairs and fixes. With that deadline passed, everyone from residents to owners to city officials are waiting for the next step, another HUD inspection.
Still, while everyone waits on the outcome, the 199 low-income residents depending on federal housing vouchers are caught in the middle.
The Ralston’s management declined to comment on the subject, a practice they have held throughout the many months of questions and concerns.
View the entire inspection report below: