Why 54 units are without heat at Creighton Court

Posted at 6:07 PM, Jan 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-04 13:53:58-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The CBS 6 Problem Solvers first brought this situation to light one week ago when we interviewed a man who said he has not had heat at Creighton Court for six years.

Since then, we've learned this problem is far larger than anticipated, and now Congressman Donald McEachin said he's extremely disappointed that the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority did not address this sooner.

Bundled up in their winter coats, Sharanda Taylor and two of her three kids enter their home in Creighton Court.

"It's cold," her daughter Mercy said.

But, don't expect them to take off the coats once inside.

"It's cold to touch," Taylor said. "This is no way for kids to have to live."

Sharanda Taylor shows Melissa Hipolit conditions in her RRHA apartment in Creighton Court.

Sharanda Taylor shows Melissa Hipolit conditions in her RRHA apartment in Creighton Court.

A spokesperson for the Department of Housing and Urban Development told us the heat does not work in 54 units, including Taylor's home.

"It's brick cold. Could you imagine stepping on this with your bare foot?" Taylor said.

HUD said RRHA gave residents space heaters that are keeping temperatures inside the units between 66 and 72 degrees.

Yet, Taylor said she does not believe it.

Especially, with temperatures as cold as they've been recently.

"This is for me and children and it does not work. It does not kick off heat efficiently," Taylor said.

HUD said the issue stems from leaks in the iron pipes in the hot water heating system.

RRHA had to shut off the heat in the 9 impacted buildings to prevent the ceilings from collapsing as they absorbed water from leaking pipes.

RRHA said they are inspecting affected units to make sure heat levels are appropriate and maintained through the current cold snap.

It's a state of disrepair that has Taylor, who cares for others as a private duty nurse, moving out at the end of the month.

"It's the projects, 'What do you expect?' I don't expect this. I don't live in Afghanistan, I live in America, and I pay bills and I pay my taxes and I'm a nurse. This is ridiculous. I get up everyday to take care of people, and I still need to be taken care of myself," Taylor said.

RRHA is working to secure bids to fix the heat and those bids are due on Jan. 12.

Contracts will be awarded shortly after and the work should be completed within 30 days, officials said.

HUD said once repair work is completed, the city will conduct inspections to make sure the buildings comply with building codes.

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