The Richland County Council announced Monday it will be pledging $150,000 and seeking to enhance the efforts of social service agencies to aid displaced residents of the Allen Benedict Court Apartments in Columbia.
Council members voted unanimously at their meeting Tuesday to provide funding to assist residents with day-to-day-necessities. The council will coordinate with the City of Columbia and other agencies helping more than 400 residents who had to vacate the apartment complex in January following a gas leak that resulted in the death of two men.
An implementation plan is being developed by staff for Council approval before the funding is provided. A plan is expected to be presented by the next meeting (Feb. 19). The organizations that will be in charge of utilizing the funds must put them towards food distribution, laundry services and relocation assistance.
“We can’t give them a new home,” Vice Chair Dalhi Myers said “But we can make their temporary home a little happier.”
All agencies receiving funding to help the residents will be subject to an audit conducted by the County’s Budget and Grants Management Department. Each group receiving funds must sign a grant agreement and submit a plan of action on how it will use the funding.
In addition to the County Council’s new funding, Richland County government employees started a campaign to collect gift cards for the Allen Benedict Court residents.
“Richland County employees work every day to serve the public,” Interim Administrator Ed Gomeau said. “Helping in this way is simply an extension of their service to other.”