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Local groups team up to help tenants in Anderson

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Posted at 6:16 PM, Oct 22, 2021

ANDERSON — For weeks, WRTV has been trying to get answers for renters in Anderson. Tenants from two apartment complexes, owned by the same company, have reached out with numerous complaints about unsafe living conditions and little action from the landlord.

Tenants in the Bingham Square and Madison Square Apartments were informed by the property manager they will no longer be accepting Section 8 housing vouchers, and they’ve been given until the end of next month to move out. This comes after tenants raised concerns about mold, loose wires, and drainage issues.

“They come and they tell us, our apartments are full of mold or it has water in it,” said Marilynn Collier, founder of the Gathering of the Queens. “So that’s why we’re here. We’re here to support them.”

Collier said she’s heard all about the struggles of these tenants.

“With COVID, first of all, that’s bad enough,” said Collier. “But then for your living conditions to be compromised, no human being should live like that.”

In the latest development, 26 families between the two apartment complexes have been given until the end of November to find somewhere else to live, so her organization is stepping in.

Volunteers with the group have gathered and are handing out cleaning supplies, while other organizations like Project Grocery, along with students from the Anderson Preparatory Academy, have packed these boxes of food for the neighbors.

“A hometown who takes care of each other,” Collier said.

Plus, the group Madison County S.U.R.E. (Standing Up for Racial Equity) is collecting contact information to drive tenants around to look for new housing.

“I have some applications here for residents who might need help with moving or transportation, locating other housing opportunities,” said Angela Eden, with Madison County S.U.R.E.

“This is the west side of our city and it is predominantly people of color,” Eden said. “And it seems to be neglected. And so we want to stand up and say that’s not right.”

“We figure if we stand up, other people will stand up,” said Collier. “We can’t continue to count on people to do things for us. We have to do them for ourselves.”

All three of these organizations are uniting to help their fellow neighbors.

“We can’t operate apart because it won’t work. But there is strength in numbers and there is strength when we collectively get together and make a difference,” said Collier.

WRTV has tried to reach the owners of the apartment complexes, Property Resources Associates, for weeks now. We have not yet received a response. Since tenants were told they need to leave by the end of November, the Anderson Housing Authority has stepped in to work on finding places for these 26 families to live.