Update on the Olbiston Apartment complex

Almost 60 residents from the Olbiston Apartment Complex have found suitable living arrangements, but there’s more to this story than finding suitable housing.

Posted: Jul 21, 2021 6:14 PM
Updated: Jul 22, 2021 9:49 AM

UTICA, N.Y. -- On Thursday, July 15, around 60 residents living in the Olbistion Apartment Complex were given less than a 24 hour notice that the building was getting shut down. Since then all but a handful have found new living quarters, but those who haven’t are upset.

"When you lose your home that you’ve had, some more than 20 years, I would say they’re really dealing with grief and loss, and sure anger is one of the emotions."

Pastor Mike Ballman has temporarily housed around 15 of those residents at the Cornerstone Community Church. He’s now working on finding housing for the remaining three who are getting tired of sleeping on a cot.

"When you know there’s a fire people sleep on cots in a gymnasium. That’s what we are. We’re a very temporary short term solution for people. That’s why our biggest goal is engagement, and getting them out," he said.

Not everyone ended up at the church. A displaced woman from the Olbiston is staying at St. Luke’s Hospital. Hospital officials denied access inside to interview her, however we did speak with her by phone. She says she hasn’t had access to her apartment, and doesn’t even have cloths to wear.

Residents are being offered a chance to get legal advice Wednesday, July 21 at the DeSales Center in Utica. It’s an information session some former residents like Steve Kehr, and Jose Aras are hoping to take advantage of.

"I’m going to the meeting tonight. (What are you hoping to accomplish?) Some answers on security deposit, and how much back rent they’re willing to pay."

"I don’t mind if they give me the half of the money that I paid for the month, but besides that all I want to go and get a place."

Legal matters are piling up at the Obilston. The Mayor says both the water and the power have not been paid in months, and while the court case against the Apartment Complex is still pending, he is expecting to see some action.

"I do believe that the courts will at this point, with all of the deliberations that have been going back and forth, I’m very confident that they’ll be a finality to this relatively soon."

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