ANDERSON — People living in and around Bingham Square Apartments in Anderson are fed up with the living conditions there.
That includes the broken windows, tall grass and maintenance issues going unanswered.
8 months ago WRTV's Rachael Wilkerson walked through the same broken door at Bingham Square apartments. Residents living there say they're still dealing with poor conditions and unanswered calls for help.
"We just need help. Help the people get out of here," said Kyle Robinson.
Kyle Robinson relies on his wheelchair to get him around but says due to lack of maintenance or property management, living here isn't easy.
"We have a raccoon and he has ripped a hole down in our bathroom live on the second floor have to walk upstairs everyday. I have to haul a trash bag in my mouth and wheel down the street just so my lady doesn't have to haul trash," he said.
On top of that, residents say water has been draining from the Anderson complex into the street for weeks.
Cynthia Griffin, lives behind the complex.
"The way these apartments are especially that one needs to be torn down its been burnt," said Griffin. "The conditions of this apartment are horrible. It's bringing our property values down and the conditions live here and I don't understand why they won't fix the water running out of the apartment," she said.
The mayor said that to shut off the water, water would have to be shut off at the complex due to the meter.
The mayor said the owners haven't been paying the utility bills, which exceed more than half a million dollars.
He said trash has also previously been picked up by the city.
The city of Anderson recently filed a lawsuit against the out-of-state owners of Bingham Square apartments.
"It's also in the process of a "possible sale that would include full rehabilitation of Bingham and it's sister property Madison Square apartments and re-payment to the city of nearly a million dollars."
'It's long overdue that the tenants out here should have a decent place to live," said Councilor Ollie Dixon.
Mary Randol with the Anderson Housing Authority said the city is struggling with a lack of affordable housing.
"It is so needed in this community. We have a housing shortage one and two bedrooms are impossible to find right now especially with one bedrooms and we need affordable housing and that's the key word, affordable," she said.
She said it's trying it's best to work with the city and move people out of there, but needs your help.
"We are able to help five of them. That's just a small percentage of the people that need help out here. Unfortunately, we don't have the funding to be able to help everyone unless we receive money from the city or donations," said Randol.
The city said it's working to help relocate the remaining residents. Rental assistance will be available to those who qualify.
As we discussed there has been a great deal of activity recently regarding Bingham and the Madison Square Apartments. We continue to be engaged in litigation with PR Madison and PR Bingham, legal owners of the complexes. Pending this litigation, the city and the Anderson Redevelopment Commission (ARC) have been in negotiations with a new developer and Gary Plichta, of Property Resources, regarding the possible sale and full rehabilitation of the apartments. This would result in a full settlement of the dispute as well as a complete renovation of the apartments by the new owners. Any agreement will require repayment of unpaid utilities to the city by Property Resources and the assumption of the debt obligation owed to the ARC. Since this matter is in litigation and the terms of the negotiations have not been finalized, I cannot be more detailed at this time. The ARC, in an executive session on Monday, August 28, met with the prospective purchasers. The ARC will take any final action, after negotiations and legal documentation is in order, in a public meeting.
As we discussed the owners have not been paying their utility bills. The pending proposal will require all of those to be paid in full. The city has not turned off any of the utilities in the occupied units out of concerns for the few remaining residents, and the owner has not requested disconnection. The trash pickup bills are part of a contract between the owners and the refuse company. We would not have information regarding the status of that bill. The city has previously picked up trash that had accumulated earlier. The city has requested the Anderson Housing Authority to assist with aiding the qualifying residents new housing. They have reported that they are relocating individuals from 5 of the Bingham residential units. We believe 10 or less of the residential units remain occupied. I have requested my staff to take an inventory of remaining residents and obtain information as to the remaining residents needs, in order to relocate. It is our understanding that many are not paying rent at this time. We have offered to assist a qualifying individual with rental assistance. Once we have the detailed information regarding remaining tenants, we will be able to offer any assistance, if they choose to move.
Thomas J. Broderick, Jr.
Mayor, City of Anderson
The Housing Authority is opening up registration for Section 8 housing vouchers on Sept. 18 at 8 a.m.
AHA will add 500 names to the waiting list and will be a first come first serve basis. People are encouraged to register online and if you can't, then go to the office.
Those people on the current waiting list will be served first before the new applicants will be processed.