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Fulton tenant endures feces nightmare at former public housing complex

Fulton tenant endures feces nightmare at former public housing complex
Posted at 11:31 PM, Dec 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-11 00:34:08-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Inside the Fulton affordable housing complex, Shaneqa Thomas said she had been living a nightmare for the last three months.

"I felt defeated. Yes."

Thomas spoke with CBS 6 Friday, just one day after the Legal Aid Justice Center announced they had filed a formal complaint against Fulton property owners on her and another family's behalf.

Thomas is a mother of two young children and said it all started in mid-September when she flushed her toilet.

"It's stuff coming out of the toilet, it was feces and sewage just coming out of the toilet under the bottom and the top," Thomas said.

She said her kids and elderly dad spent hours shoveling it up with no help despite calls to maintenance.

She said Fulton complex owners later placed her family in a hotel miles from home with no transportation to school for her children. From there, things would only go from bad to worse.

"Another pipe supposedly burst in my apartment. I had to throw all my things away in my apartment that was downstairs," she said.

Fast forward months later, she’s told she’s clear to come home.

"When I came back to this apartment it was tore up, like the floor had been pulled up," Thomas said. "The paint wasn't even painted; it was two, three different colors that are, to this day I have the exact same toilet in my unit. Dead roaches, roaches all inside the walls."

The Legal Aid Justice Center cited unlivable conditions, unworkable accommodations, and unreasonable requests as reasons for their complaint against The Michaels Organization.

The Michaels Organization were the current owners of the former public housing complex run by RRHA.

Earlier in the week, the company’s vice president told CBS 6 Fulton was currently undergoing more than $6 million in renovations.

A spokesperson for The Michaels Organization responded to the complaint against them Friday saying the following:

“We are aware of the problems and are working diligently with RRHA and our residents to rectify the problems.”

Legal Aid Justice Center Housing Organizer, Omari Al-Qadaffi said he referred Thomas to legal aid attorneys.

"When I heard the story that she told me, it was just unbelievable," said Al-Qadaffi. "I was getting reports from other residents as well."

Thomas believed she should be reimbursed for the belongings she lost.

"We live subsidized, but we're still human. We still pay bills. We still take care of kids. So you can't treat us like we're animals," Thomas said.

The complaint demands immediate repair of tenant's apartments, damages for the families' losses, as well as stable, appropriately sized housing with transportation to school, work, and appointments for the duration of the renovations.