COLUMBUS, Ga. — Many residents of Ralston Towers will be feeling the outside chill indoors as they prepare for bed with no working heat or hot water.
Maintenance issues at Ralston Towers continue to worsen, with many residents without heat or hot water during low temperatures. News 3 spoke with two long-term residents who are heated but not by the furnace inside the Ralston.
“People are paying rent to live like this,” says Ricky Talley.
Ricky Talley is one of several residents who is speaking out about the lack of heat and hot water inside Ralston Towers with a portion of the Towers declared unsafe Wednesday night by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a temporary evacuation ordered for some residents. Talley says Ralston’s management continues to put a band-aid over a much bigger problem.
“They’ve been giving out space heaters. But the thing about that, it’s almost 300 units in this building, and if nobody has heat and the building itself is cold, those space heaters aren’t gonna do any good,” says Talley.
“Everybody has no heat…no hot water, they’re not doing anything to fix it but giving out a little bitty space heater that’s not even enough to keep you warm,” says Terry Hubbard.
Terry Hubbard has lived at the Ralston for six years and because of the poor living conditions she says she’s experienced, she has now decided to move. A decision that for her is simultaneously heartbreaking and necessary.
“I’ve created a lot of friends here. I have met so many people here in six years. I’ve seen them come and go. This is my home. Even though this is Ralston Towers, we have good people here and this is my home,” says Hubbard.
City inspections and Code Director John Hudgison responded to the conditions in a letter to PF Ralston LLC along with recommendations, as reported by our media partner the Ledger Enquirer: “We ask that you immediately undertake measures to protect your residents until the entire existing heating system can be repaired. Such temporary measures should be instigated no later than 9 a.m. Monday, January 8.”
“People are crying in the hallways, crying in the elevator because they’re cold-no-heat-no hot water. This is not proper living conditions. Somebody needs to do something,” says Hubbard.
A city inspector is scheduled to return to Ralston Towers by next week to follow up on Hudgison’s recommendations. News 3 reached to the Ralston Management, but so far they have not responded to our requests.