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Residents see some improvements at Joseph Floyd Manor

Updated: Feb. 18, 2021 at 3:49 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Efforts to clean up Joseph Floyd Manor continue after deplorable living conditions were revealed last year.

Since May, there have been many changes. The head of the Charleston County Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board of Commissioners was removed and new board members have been installed as well. Much of the existing staffing inside the building was also replaced.

Maintenance personnel are getting through the work orders, dealing with mice, bed bugs and other pests all while fitting in time to handle normal maintenance issue. However, there are only two full time handymen and more than 150 units.

Ann Gary lives in the building. She says she knows the staff are working hard but says the Section 8 housing project needs more help.

“The county should do more about the building. We are like forgotten people. That’s the way a lot of us feel,” Gary said. “What is going on with Joseph Floyd Manor, because as a resident, I have no idea.”

The complex is funded primarily through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Charleston County has little authority over the building but have chipped in several hundred thousand dollars to help with repairs.

Other residents, like James Mack, say improvements are being made slowly but surely. He says the building’s manager is working to help as many residents as possible.

“You have senior citizens here, people that can’t even move around and she is doing everything she can,” Mack said. “But a little bit more help would be better.”

Funding and staffing are problems the board will have to handle, but the board is not the only group working on solutions. In fact, there are several groups of activists who came together in the last year under the name Friends of Joseph Floyd Manor. They are much more than just a Facebook page.

“Every Thursday, 11 o’clock, we come and we bring donations for the residents of Joseph Floyd Manor,” Nina Magnesson said. “Because they need them. They are living at a sub-level. . . it’s a human rights violation in a lot of ways. Although, the board is doing what it can to improve the conditions here.”

Magnesson is one of the main organizers she says federal funding is one of the biggest hurdles. While they can’t fix all of the building’s problems, but can help on an individual level. They solicit basic supplies from the community – food, clothes, hygiene products – and then give them out every week. Residents have started to take notice and rely on these weekly pop-ups.

“I think it’s a great idea because a lot of the residents are not able to get out and get things on their own,” Gary said. “Especially with how the economy is going.”

Joseph Floyd Manor is dedicated mostly to low-income seniors, many of whom have medical conditions requiring treatment that make traveling to a store difficult.

Nina and the rest of the group aren’t just focused on stop-gap measures. They’re also working behind the scenes, attending boarding meeting, pressuring officials, and searching the community for new partners to help get resources to Joseph Floyd.

“We are just trying to help where we can and to support the staff and the CCHR board in their efforts to fix the maintenance and living standards in the building,” Magnesson said.

Friends of Joseph Floyd Manor include organizations like BoomTown, Enough Pie and Charleston Promise Neighborhood.

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