T.K. Somanath, RRHA’s director, said in an interview that the housing authority has been shutting down furnaces as leaks spring in 70-year-old radiator pipes in the ceiling. He said officials began seeking bids from contractors to repair them as soon as they broke. The authority expects to complete the legally required bidding process Jan. 12.“These problems crop up as the temperature goes down,” he said. “They don’t show up in the summertime.” McEachin questioned Somanath’s timeline, saying his staff had received information that the authority was aware of the issue since May, but Somanath said that wasn’t the case and that the authority is moving to fix the pipes as they break. He encouraged McEachin to pursue additional funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which stands to be cut under the current federal budget proposal, for preventative maintenance or alternative housing programs. “As the systems fail, we take action,” Somanath said. “It takes hundreds and thousands of dollars — money we don’t have — to replace these 70-year-old heating systems.” McEachin, meanwhile, said that in his first year as a congressman, he hasn’t heard any funding requests from RRHA. “Certainly they haven’t petitioned us for help,” he said. “This was all news to us.”As one of our neighbors wisely suggested, “Convey Your Feelings”, use whatever fire this story lit under your belly and get involved. CHPN will follow up with this story. Congressman A. Donald McEachin Ask the Mayor The Honorable Cynthia Newbille If you currently live in Creighton Court or know someone who does, there’s a survey available here and have them call 804-780-8700 to submit a work order for heat. The Church Hill Neighborhood Facebook Group may also be a good place to coordinate efforts to help out.
By now many of you have heard about the Creighton Court heating fiasco. How some were heating their homes with open ovens (increasing the chances of a toxic dose of carbon monoxide poisoning), how Shamin Hotels and the RRHA offered residents hotel stays by the airport, a great option for some but despite the kindness, many also turned this option down as these places have no working kitchens and little access to transportation. Soon the weather will get better but it’s still winter time and many families will still be without heating for weeks. Read this article from Ned Oliver, from the Richmond Times Dispatch. Ask yourself, how can this total breakdown in communication be tolerated when it has such a potential negative effect?