HUD opens investigation into conditions of Hopewell housing community

HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is investigating discrimination and other violations at Virginia’s first Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) conversion.

This is in response to complaints filed on behalf of eight current and former public housing residents.

Under the RAD program, Hopewell Redevelopment and Housing Authority (HRHA) and Community Housing Partners (CHP) razed the public housing community Langston Park in 2014 and built new apartments on the site, now called the Summit at Hopewell.

The complaints allege HRHA and CHP discriminated against families with children and residents with disabilities; pushed tenants out of Langston Park, depriving them of their legal right to return to the redeveloped Summit at Hopewell; and relocated other tenants to overcrowded housing in poor condition.

According to the complaints, CHP illegally discriminated against the families from Langston Park who returned to the Summit after construction based on disability status or having children. CHP forbade anyone under the age of 18 from watching their younger siblings, taking out the trash on their own, accessing the computers and other amenities at the community center if not under the direct supervision of an adult, or playing outside unsupervised.

In a statement, CHP officials said:

“For the last 42 years, CHP has been one of the leading advocates of affordable housing development in the Commonwealth. At this time, we have received  letters from HUD and Legal Aide requesting certain documents related to our public housing (RAD) conversions of both Kippax Place and Langston Park Apartment communities in Hopewell, Va. We will be working with HUD, our existing and past residents, and partners to amicably resolve any concerns–some of which have already been addressed and/or resolved by CHP while the remaining items are being looked into by our staff.”

Hopewell Redevelopment and Housing Officials declined to comment.

The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) is a “public-private partnership” model for redeveloping aging public housing. In most RAD projects, public housing authorities transfer both management and a large portion of ownership of formerly public housing to private companies, but continue to subsidize the property with direct and indirect federal assistance.

Langston Park was the first RAD conversion in Virginia. There are currently thirty-nine other public housing communities in Virginia that HUD has approved to convert under the program.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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