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Revitalization or a kick to the curb? RRHA ‘rebuilding plan’

From CBS 6:

RICHMOND, Va. — More than 1,000 residents in low-income neighborhoods could be without a home as the Richmond Re-Development Housing Authorities (RRHA) plan to demolish and rebuild neighborhoods like Gilpin Court.

“This is an issue that`s been on again and off again for a long time in the city,” said Richmond resident, Phil Wilayto.

More than 100 residents faced the RRHA Wednesday afternoon in response to a plan that could kick thousands out of their home.

“You tear down that housing, where are the people supposed to go? Well RRHA isn’t considering that,” Wilayto said. The RRHA have developed a five-year plan that would ultimately tear down public housing and rebuild new ones in their place.

This is a multi year project that starts with Gilpin Court.

What do you think folks? And please keep it civil. Remember the comment policy.

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17 comments

David Seibert 07/25/2019 at 7:24 AM

I have looked through this RRHA document several times now and I don’t really see where it states a plan to completely redo Gilpen. Which pages should I be looking at? Or can someone post an excerpt?

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Gustavo 07/25/2019 at 11:48 AM

We just recently got something, Dave. I’ll send it your way once I find it and post it here.

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David Seibert
David Seibert 07/25/2019 at 11:37 AM

I have read through this document a few times and have not been able to really find the section that this news story is talking about. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

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Sarah Pedersen
Sarah Pedersen 07/25/2019 at 1:32 PM

what do you mean by section?

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David Seibert
David Seibert 07/25/2019 at 3:27 PM

This a huge document. I am looking for the section that says RRHA has a plan to completely rebuild Gilpen over the next 5 years.

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Kristin Reed
Kristin Reed 07/25/2019 at 3:33 PM

David Seibert The demo/dispo schedule is on pages 31-34 of this document. Gilpin isn’t slated for renovation, but my understanding is that it is slated for demolition and conversion to private mixed-income housing that will accept vouchers through the section 8 model. I’m not a housing specialist by any means, but my understanding is there are two versions of public housing conversion funded by HUD: RAD and section 18. It looks like most of Richmond’s conversions will be funded through section 18, which does not allow residents the same right to remain in place or to return that RAD does. In the case of this document, concern has been raised from a number of channels due to the confusion about what’s coming and the lack of public forums to address it. For a more comprehensive assessment I’d recommend reading through the comments submitted by the Legal Aid Justice Center that are archived here: https://www.muckrock.com/foi/richmond-151/public-comments-on-rrha-1-year-and-5-year-plans-76895/#file-799549

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David Seibert
David Seibert 07/25/2019 at 11:03 PM

Kristin Reed thank you so much. This was very informative.

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Kristin Reed
Kristin Reed 07/26/2019 at 2:27 PM

David Seibert Anytime.

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Sarah Pedersen
Sarah Pedersen 07/25/2019 at 1:30 PM

“In response to a request through the state public records law to issue meeting schedule, the agency left out a critical meeting. In response to another request for public comments the agency received, the agency excluded comments that were especially damning.”

Thanks Richmond for All and Leaders Of the New South – Community Council for Housing for drawing our attention to this supremely undemocratic, cruel policy that will displace thousands of our most vulnerable residents.

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2019/jul/24/richmond-Virginia-public-housing-ii/?fbclid=IwAR3hQyRw7N-p6VcEMNhJmrq29qDCRZy0R8q7yZKsBmmwC6E65pxP9QyAEu0

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David Seibert
David Seibert 07/25/2019 at 11:05 PM

Thank you the link!

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Matt Jarreau
Matt Jarreau 07/25/2019 at 3:33 PM

I’m fairly certain that once HUD funds are involved as they are here you can’t demolish a unit without replacing it. Thus you have to build a unit first then demolish the old one second.

I’m pretty sure that’s what’s happening here. Just the same as the new development on 31st and Nine Mile Rd.

I don’t think they can just demolish units and not replace with like in kind units. I think the funding they have used in the past makes them preform to this level.

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Shannon Hodges
Shannon Hodges 07/26/2019 at 9:59 AM

Matt Jarreau my understanding is that is how it has been done in the past but it doesn’t have to be done that way.

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Sarah Pedersen
Sarah Pedersen 07/26/2019 at 10:44 AM

Matt Jarreau they are saying they will give vouchers, which is not the same thing as 1:1 replacement. At 31st and Nine Mile they are also not providing full 1:1 replacement, but giving vouchers. That is what happened in Blackwell, which pushed renters out to the counties and other low-income areas.

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Sarah Pedersen
Sarah Pedersen 07/26/2019 at 10:51 AM

There was a study by VCU that came out that looked at the outcomes for residents subjected to “poverty deconcentration” in Blackwell released last month. This is not exactly analogous to what the new 5 year RRHA plan is planning however, because this new plan does not intend to build new units. Just demolish, throw a voucher at residents and wish them well. It is unconscionable.

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Matt Jarreau
Matt Jarreau 07/26/2019 at 4:22 PM

Sarah Pedersen correct that’s why Creighton is remaining in place because the new development doesn’t have enough units to have a 1 to 1 replacement.

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Joshua 07/26/2019 at 8:04 AM

Many of these occupants have had plenty of time to get back on their feet, retrain in a new career, or get additional education so that they can move on with their lives. Tax-payer subsidized public housing in these developments was never meant to be a long term, let alone a generational home. When their lease is up they better have a plan.

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Donna Rabender
Donna Rabender 07/26/2019 at 9:38 PM

Call HUD in DC. Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary.

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