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RRHA hiring engineering firm to solve issues, plan for the future

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority are looking to outside help to identify problems and outline a plan for the future.

For the next six months, KCI Engineering will be working side by side with RRHA.

The company has been tasked with reviewing the books as well as coming up with a game plan to handle future emergencies.

For the first time, the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority are rolling up its sleeves to create a long-term strategy when responding to issues in four thousand apartments.

"Gives us and our residents some confidence going forward that we're utilizing those resources in the best possible, in the best possible way," said interim RRHA CEO Orlando Artze.

To avoid situations like the lack of heat for residents, RRHA has hired KCI Engineering to come up with a plan.

The price tag is $70,000.

The fee won't cost residents a penny, according to Artze.

"We're able to use our capital fund not only for hard costs like replacing a boiler but for work that helps us make decisions," said Artze.

For the next six months, KCI will take a look at past spending as well as identify major areas for improvement.

Areas such as repairing boilers, and fixing aging water and sewer pipes.

"We're looking to see where in fact roofs need to be replaced," said Artze.

At the end of the six months, RRHA hopes to have an action plan from KCI and a renovation to do list.

"Translate into better service for our residents," said Artze.

While KCI gets to work, electric baseboard heat is still being installed in Creighton Court. The deadline for the project is next week.

By mid-April, Artze says another 300 apartments should have heating problems fixed.

"In some cases, we need to cut the pipe and be able to replace it," said Artze.

The cost of extra heating repairs totals $250,000 coming from the capital fund.

Artze says soon he will be working with foundations to raise money to buy air conditioning units for 400 residents.

The process continues to find a permanent CEO.

A search firm to help with the hiring should be named this week.

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