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Residents demand change in response to poor living conditions at two Anderson apartment complexes

Anderson Fair Housing Rally
Posted at 10:58 PM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-13 16:19:53-05

ANDERSON — No heat. No water. Exposed raw sewage. Trash piled up — That's the reality for some residents at two Madison County apartment complexes.

Residents at Bingham and Madison Square Apartments tell WRTV they've been without heat or water for weeks.

A handful gathered at the Anderson City Building to demand answers and fair living conditions on Thursday.

“Get it together. You owe the people. Something needs to be done," former Bingham Square resident Chelsea Newell said.

Newell lived at the apartment complex from 2014 to 2021 — what she calls a seven-year-nightmare.

“All these problems were the same. Boiling water, all the people crying, hurting, wasting money and it just ain’t right. They need help," Newell said.

Bingham and Madison Square have faced legal issues with the City of Anderson — including nearly half a million dollars in unpaid utility bills, lack of up-keep and more.

These are issues WRTV has been covering since 2021.

WRTV INVESTIGATES: Numerous complaints field against two Anderson apartment complexes for lack of heat and water

“We need to do what we need to do to help our brothers and sisters isn’t that what it’s all about," protestor Marilynn Collier said. “The city makes the decisions no matter who owns the apartment complexes we have a duty to our citizens to stand up and say this is unacceptable.”

Collier is the founder of advocacy group the Gathering of the Queens.

She and other protesters brought a list of demands to Anderson City Administrators on Thursday.

"We demand….

1. That the City of Anderson administration, including Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr, the Building Commission, the Board of Public Works, and the Board of Public Safety take immediate action to protect the health and well-being of residents at Bingham and Madison Square apartments.

This includes,

  • Restoring water and heat to all inhabited units at each complex immediately and
  • Remediation of all other high priority health hazards such as mold, pest infestation, and unsecured doors and windows.

Should these immediate actions not be met within the next 48 to 72 hours, we demand the City of Anderson's administration enact a public health emergency order to swiftly implement a temporary rehousing plan for all residents who are without water and heat until these services can be restored.

We demand..

2. The Anderson Common Council pass an ordinance holding all landlords accountable who are in violation of decent housing standards. These housing standards will model those established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

A. Including establishing a confidential hot-line or reporting mechanism for tenants to report health and safety issues to Bldg. Comm. when all other such attempts have failed.

We demand..

3. The Anderson Redevelopment Commission take immediate legal action against the property owners of Bingham and Madison Square apartments, Property Resource Associates, LLC, for non-compliance and misuse of a $935,000 TIF investment intended for the rehabilitation of these affordable housing properties, and

We demand.

4. The Human Relations Department (aka. Civil Rights Department) of the City of Anderson will continue to support and advise the residents of Bingham and Madison Square apartments through this housing crisis. This may include securing legal support in the initiation of a civil class action lawsuit against ANY responsible party who fails to respond and remediate these immediate health and housing threats to the residents of Bingham and Madison Square Apartments."

The Madison County Health Department says it has received numerous complaints from people at both complexes since the new year.

The department says tracking down the owners hasn't been easy.