RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Some of the more than 50 families living in Richmond’s Creighton Court without heat that were temporarily relocated will have their stay extended.
That’s according to a Creighton Court resident who told 8News that repairs have delayed their returns to their homes. The news comes after some residents were asked to leave their homes by the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority as a result of heating issues.
Residents are now expected to move into their vacated home on Saturday, Jan. 20.
The RRHA said that although staff inspected the impacted units and confirmed that electric space heaters were sufficient to maintain temperatures between 66 and 72 degrees, “it has been determined that alternate housing is the most prudent course of action given the unseasonably cold weather forecasted for the next few days.”
The Department of Housing and Urban Development says those families will stay in vacant units or hotels. RRHA said staff is helping residents move with a goal of getting each impacted resident relocated by the end of the day Thursday.
One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said that she and five other families are being moved to a hotel until Jan. 12, at which point they will return to Creighton Court. She said that others are being allowed to move to other properties with functioning heat, but the RRHA is not helping with the cost of moving or signing a new lease. Still, others are staying in Creighton Court until the heat is fixed.
This comes after concerns to the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority continued to pour in after 8News exposed the heating problems.
Initially, the agency said it would take 30 days to make the repairs. Now, it insists the work can be done in ten days.
But RRHA first has to get bids from contractors. Those are due on Jan. 12, therefore, residents are still looking at weeks before repairs are complete.
Brittny Hatcher and her kids have relied on space heaters and a gas stove to keep their three-bedroom home warm. Hatcher said she hasn’t had heat since they moved in.
“It’s ridiculous,” Hatcher said. “If I pay my rent every month or whatever, I should have functioning heat, functioning everything.”
The boiler pipes for her unit and 53 others need to be repaired. It’s a problem that Congressman Donald McEachin maintains should have been fixed months ago.
That’s why he questions the agency responsible for managing Creighton Court, the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority.
“It’s unconscionable to me that you would do something like this,” McEachin said. “You’re giving people space heaters and we all know that space heaters are dangerous.”
Since 8News brought the dire situation to the congressman’s attention, he has been asking questions. The most obvious among these is how did this happen.
“Why did you wait so long? You knew months ago this was going to be a problem,” McEachin said. “Every Richmonder knows that come November and December it’s going to be cold and yet you let this persist and I don’t have an answer to that and I think they need to give us an answer.”
Kerri O’Brien will have full report tonight on 8News.