Richmond residents without heat turning down free stay at hotel

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — For more than a month, nearly 50 families living in Richmond’s Creighton Court have been relying on space heaters to keep their units warm.

Their heat doesn’t work and it isn’t expected to be restored for weeks.

After coming under fire for the dire conditions, the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority or RRHA finally offered residents an alternative to their chilly apartments.

On Thursday, the agency gave families the opportunity to temporarily relocate to the Richmond Airport Hotel for free. But only seven families accepted the offer.

“It’s worth it for me to keep warm because I’ve been cold over a month in this apartment,” explains one mom who didn’t want to be identified, “I’ve been cold in this apartment for two snowstorms. Cold for the holidays. Cold.”

But she knows many more parents who are staying put because they don’t have the money to live in the hotel. While the accommodations are free, the rooms are equipped with just a refrigerator and microwave. Cooking for an entire family would be a challenge and eating out isn’t an affordable option.

Transportation is another obstacle for many of the impacted families. The hotel is more than five miles from their homes. If they accepted the hotel, many families would have to find a way to get their children to and from school.

“Whether it’s for food, whether it’s to get back and forth to work, or get your child back and forth to school, we’re still coming out of our pocket with some type of money,” adds the unidentified mom.

According to HUD, 7 of 49 families accepted the opportunity to temporarily relocate. 34 decided to stay in their unheated units. RRHA is still trying to get in touch with families in the remaining eight unheated apartments.

Residents had to sign paperwork when they made their choice. If they remained in their unheated homes, they acknowledged conditions weren’t life-threatening.

Families who relocated to the hotel can only stay there through January 12th. Their heat isn’t expected to be repaired for at least a week after that.

PREVIOUS STORIES: More than 50 families will be without heat for weeks in Richmond housing complexLocal politicians speak out against lack of heating in Creighton CourtSome Creighton Court residents without heat temporarily relocated to hotel

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