Three months later, displaced Columbia residents still waiting to go home

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 7:34 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Three Columbia residents have been living out of a motel for three months, waiting for word their landlord company has made the repairs needed to get them home.

The City of Columbia evacuated Cynthia Joyner and her neighbors in February from their apartments at 1218 Hyatt Avenue over gas leaks and other code violations.

Joyner told WIS the landlord company Indigo 52 has provided no update on when the repairs will take place. The company entered into a consent order in March to make the repairs and was held in contempt of court in April for failing to do so (among other violations).

Meanwhile, Joyner, her daughter and a neighbor were relocated to the nearby Super 8 Motel.

“I didn’t think we’d have to stay this long. I’d probably give an estimated month or two, but not this long,” Joyner said.

WIS visited Joyner’s modest two-bedroom at the Super 8 on Fairfield Road. Food, medicine, clothes and other essentials were tightly packed into all available spaces.

“Mentally, it’s pretty hard. You get up and you thinking, is this the day that we’re going to get called that we’re going to get to move back to our house?” she said.

Attempts to contact Indigo 52 and its attorney Mary Caskey were unsuccessful.

A judge levied a $15,000 fine on the company after finding it contempt of court. But the judge gave it 30 days to meet the criteria of the order and have the fine wiped away.  Monday marked day 26 since the fine.

The Columbia Police Department has led the city’s efforts to hold the company accountable in court. Its spokesperson declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.

Columbia taxpayers have been paying for the motel stays, which leadership at the Super 8 told WIS cost $5,180.25 since April 9.

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