Columbus pastor calls situation at Ralston Towers a ‘moral travesty’

Ralston Towers

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The deadline for the Ralston Towers to get back into health and safety compliance with the Department of Housing and Urban Development passed more than a week ago. Still, a federal inspection has not been conducted at the housing facility.

While federal inspectors have still not arrived, city code inspectors performed a tour this afternoon.

Earlier this week, Congressman Drew Ferguson’s office said that the HUD inspection would take place on Oct. 16, but it never came.

Now, News 3 has learned through a Ferguson spokesman that the new inspection is supposed to come in the middle of next week, according to Ferguson’s office.

City inspectors were in 10 units and the laundry room of the Ralston today, looking at issues ranging from broken heaters to rats, but that’s not the inspection that could close the building and cost the New Jersey-based owners federal subsidies.

If federal inspectors deem the building still out of compliance next week, it will force HUD to find alternative housing for the almost 200 residents still inside.

This new inspection by HUD representatives is a planned follow-up for a failed July inspection. The owners had 60 days to fix the issues that resulted in a 42 score on a 100-point scale. A failing grade is anything below 60.

First Baptist Church pastor Jimmy Elder knows the situation well. And he, like the residents, is ready for a solution to what Ferguson called deplorable conditions back in August.

“It is more than just being across the street. It’s been a place where we have ministered and a place where we have loved people. I have members who live over there,” Elder said. “I’ve watched what they have gone through. And it’s been, really, a moral travesty for us to have a place like that in the middle of the community and the pain people have suffered over there.”

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