Public housing debacle: The aftermath of the Allen-Benedict closure

by | Aug 7, 2019 | Local

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.