COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – It’s been about a month since tenants of the Latitude Five25 apartments were evacuated. Burst pipes led to flooding, broken heat, broken elevators, and other issues, according to the city. The city later vacated the complex after determining it was unsafe to live in.

“It’s been a downward spiral actually,” said Steven Rankin, who used to live at Latitude Five25. “Nothing’s gotten better, it’s just gotten worse ever since they told me to move out where I was.”

Some of the tenants are staying with family or friends. Many, including Rankin, have been put up in area hotels until more permanent plans are figured out. 

“The answers are vague,” he said. “Like, they want to help, everybody’s sorry, but there’s no clear solution to this problem, and I understand that because it’s a big problem.”

After the city vacated the complex, tenants were able to schedule appointments to go back in and collect belongings. However, that was suspended on Jan. 11 after asbestos was found inside, according to Hannah Jones, deputy director with Columbus’ Department of Development. 

“We want to share that information with tenants, we want to prepare them for the likelihood of the chance it could be a significant amount of time before they can re-enter the building,” Jones said.

The department had a meeting with tenants Wednesday night. 

“It is still an evolving situation as to whether or not Latitude Five25 will be re-developed and how quickly,” Jones said. “I think, in the short term, we are and will continue to advise folks that relocating is probably the best option because we do not have a firm timeline for the rehab of the building.”

A relocation service has completed 90 interviews with residents, helping line up permanent housing for 23 of the 154 occupied units of Latitude Five25, according to Jones. Jones said there are 40 residents who the relocation expert hasn’t been able to contact yet. She said the number to get in touch with the relocation service is 614-421-6333.

“It is an evolving, changing conversation and that’s really the goal of this evening, is to just talk candidly with residents and come alongside them and just share what we know and what we don’t know,” Jones said.

Rankin says he’s had a hard time finding another apartment that will accept his dog. 

“That’s all I want, clarity and foundation so I can get comfortable,” he said.