Multiple Stakeholders and Entities Working on Short-Term and Long-Term Solutions for Residents at Latitude Five25
On December 25, 2022,
Columbus Code Enforcement issued an emergency notice to vacate Latitude Five25
at 525 Sawyer Blvd. The Near-eastside buildings, often referred to as Sawyer
Towers, were found to be without potable water, heat and a working fire
suppression system. In addition, only one of four elevators was working.
It was determined the
buildings in question were not safe, and multiple City departments evacuated
both towers. The majority of residents found alternative living arrangements;
however, the City worked with the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) to transport
displaced residents without housing options to an emergency shelter established
in coordination with the American Red Cross at Dodge Community Center. Any
remaining residents must be out of the towers by 12 p.m. Friday, December 30,
2022, at which time the buildings will be secured.
“Our top concern was making
sure displaced residents had access to safe and warm shelter, and thanks to the
efforts of many City and County employees, in close collaboration with
community service providers, we were able to keep residents safe,” said Mayor
Andrew J. Ginther. “Our next step is to find more permanent solutions for
residents and to hold the property owners accountable.”
“We have been working
round-the-clock with the City and our community partners to meet the immediate
housing needs for all our impacted neighbors,” said Commissioner Erica C.
Crawley, president of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. “In addition
to providing funding to secure safe interim housing for all Latitude Five25
residents, we’re also offering wraparound supports. We are going to walk with
them and help them navigate this crisis with dignity.”
The City is working with
Franklin County and other service providers to secure interim housing for
displaced residents. The Franklin County Commissioners met in emergency session
on Wednesday to allocate $750,000 for interim housing and support for
continuing operations at Dodge Community Center. Mayor Ginther is working with
Columbus City Council to allocate an additional $750,000 for these efforts.
In addition, the City
Attorney’s Office is pursuing legal action to hold the building owners in
contempt and to move the buildings into receivership and find a suitable buyer
for the property.