RICHMOND, Va. – Dozens of families in Richmond’s Creighton Court public housing neighborhood will soon have heat, according to a letter from the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA).
In a letter to Creighton Court residents, the RRHA said next week they will begin restoring heat to 50 families whose apartments don't have it.
Since then, the Department of Housing and Urban Development confirmed that heat does not work in more than 50 units and a total of 12 apartment buildings.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the RRHA initially gave dozens of residents space heaters, then relocated them to vacant units or hotels until heat can be restored to their units.
Because the original heating system is so damaged, the RRHA says baseboard heating will now be installed in the units without heat.
“We expect that work will begin next week,” read the letter. “The installation for each building is expected to take about a week to complete.”
They went on to say it will take contractors about 10 to 12 hours to restore heat in each unit.
Effected families are going to stay in a temporary location while the work is being done.
The RRHA expects to have heat fully restored in all 12 buildings by no later than February 28, 2018.
Resident: ‘Somebody else was not doing their job’
In a meeting with residents Thursday, RRHA chief operating officer Carol Jones apologized for the disintegrating pipes that caused the heat to be shut off in 12 buildings.
“The pipes are corroded, and they keep springing leaks,” she said.
But she also let them know about the harsh reality facing Richmond’s aging public housing.
“There are other people before you who knew these pipes were in disarray. Why didn't they see that as a priority, to use the money toward that?” asked resident Yvette Ross.
“When you have 150 million dollars’ worth of needs any you only get 6 million dollars… when your bills outweigh your money you have to decide what bill gets the money,” said Jones.
Yet now that the housing authority faces an emergency situation, they've been able to secure funding to replace radiator heat with baseboard heat in the units without working heat.
Ross says she's pleased with the fix, but not happy with previous RRHA leaders.
“Somebody else was not doing their job and they weren't if they got into this much disarray they were not doing their job and that concerned me,” added Ross.
To offset the increased electricity cost to residents, the RRHA will increase residents electric allowance. They will also pay 100 percent of residents' electric bills during the period that residents relied on space heaters.