Two housing complexes for the elderly in Columbia and another in Greenville have been partially evacuated, with residents moved to temporary quarters, as officials investigate complaints of possible mold problems.
The two federally subsidized units in Columbia, owned by the Greek nonprofit fraternal organization AHEPA and funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, are on Pelham Drive, behind the Shoppes at Woodhill.
Twenty-seven units in one building and 16 units in another were cleared out the week after Christmas, according to John Hayes, attorney for AHEPA in Charleston. In Greenville, 24 units in an AHEPA building were cleared this week under the same kind of complaints, Hayes said.
“People were saying they felt like they were having issues with allergies and asthma,” Hayes said. “So they hired a company called Risktech to come in and perform air-quality tests. On a number of those units, the tests came back positive, or indicated that there was some trouble with the air quality.”
AHEPA moved the affected Columbia residents to two hotels, Hayes said, while an investigation continues.
The recently constructed Columbia homes are part of a $4 million, 59-unit complex built no more than 21/2 years ago, Hayes said. They accommodate low- to moderate-income elderly.
The age of the Greenville complex was not immediately known, Hayes said Wednesday, but all were “similarly constructed” by the same contractor, he said. “Our largest concern is the health and safety of their residents, of course, and their comfort,” Hayes said. Other details, including the contractor’s identity, were not known Wednesday evening.
AHEPA is an acronym for American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, which, founded in 1922, is the world’s largest service organization of Greek-Americans. AHEPA said it has met with HUD about the issue, but efforts Wednesday to talk with an agency representative were unsuccessful.