Richland Co. Council approves $150K to assist Allen Benedict Court residents

Published: Feb. 11, 2019 at 12:31 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Richland County Council is pledging $150,000 for local social service agencies to aid displaced residents of Allen Benedict Court Apartments.

The Council voted unanimously to provide funding to assist residents with day-to-day necessities after more than 400 residents had to vacate the apartment complex last month following a gas leak that resulted in the death of two men.

“The Council’s women thought it would be good to reach out to our citizens and their children who have been displaced during this crisis,” Vice Chair Dalhi Myers of District 10 said. “While they have been blessed to receive an outpouring of community support in the form of dry goods, non-perishable foods, toiletries, and other sundries, we have been concerned that there may be times when emergency medicines, access to laundry facilities and after school care may now be out of reach for these residents.”

MORE: CHA offering thousands of dollars to cover move-out expenses for Allen Benedict Court residents

In addition to working with the City of Columbia, the County plans to work with three principal partners – United Way of the Midlands, Christ Central Ministries and Harvest Hope Food Bank. The County also will collaborate with Richland Library, The COMET and the Richland County Recreation Commission to ensure residents’ needs are being met.

The organizations must use the funding to help residents through food distribution, laundry services and relocation assistance.

MORE: Columbia Housing Authority won’t receive $30 million HUD grant to fix Allen Benedict Court apartments, mayor says

“Along with our colleagues, we thought our excellent staff, using Richland County’s powerful network ... and other agencies funded by our taxpayers, was in the best position to meet these citizens’ emergency ‘wrap around’ needs in a more fulsome way,” Myers said.

Each group receiving funds must sign a grant agreement and submit a plan of action on how it will use the funding.

Richland County Government employees also started a campaign – separate from Council’s action – to collect gift cards for the residents of Allen Benedict Court, which is located less than a mile from the County Administration Building.

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