Public housing debacle: The aftermath of the Allen-Benedict closure
When emergency officials arrived at a Columbia public housing project on January 17, 2019, they found two men dead of carbon monoxide poisoning. The deaths of Calvin Witherspoon Jr., 62, and Derrick Caldwell Roper, 31, in separate units of the post-World War II-era complex prompted emergency evacuation of the 26-building complex and spawned lawsuits and investigations that are ongoing. The city was also forced to find emergency housing for displaced families even as they faced questions about ongoing problems at the aging complex.
Reporters Mary Ramsey and Shayla Nidiver explore the impact of the crisis on families and a city that is still grappling with finding homes for the community’s most vulnerable citizens.
Multiple lawsuits related to the events at Allen Benedict Court in January as the Columbia Housing Authority continues to work through changes in leadership.
The abrupt closure of a public housing complex in Columbia has led to lawsuits and no clear answers about who was responsible for the terrible conditions at Allen Benedict.
Public safety officials and researchers are emphasizing the importance of carbon monoxide awareness after two men died from carbon monoxide poisoning at Allen Benedict Court.
A displaced Allen Benedict Court resident recounts how the complex’s shutdown continues to affect her life.