RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — More than 50 families living in Richmond’s Creighton Court are battling the bitter cold with no heat.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the boilers are broken in 8 or 9 of the public housing buildings.
Brittny Hatcher’s unit is in one of those buildings.
“It’s cold,” explains Hatcher, “Like you can see your breath cold. Like your fingers wrinkling up cold, that’s how cold it is.”
With temperatures outside in the teens, Hatcher is using two space heaters and her gas stove to keep her kids K.J. and Nyla warm.
“I shouldn’t have to keep going through all of these maneuvers just to keep my house warm. I shouldn’t have to,” says the frustrated mom.
A HUD spokesperson explains that companies are in the process of bidding to make the repairs. Bids are due on January 12th. The work is supposed to be finished within 30 days after that.
Congressman Donald McEachin was also notified and made the following statement:
“Last Friday, right before the holiday weekend, I learned that some Creighton Court residents were without heat because long overdue repairs had not been initiated. After inquiring on Friday and following up today about my serious concerns, I understand that Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) soon will secure multiple contractors to complete much-needed repairs at Creighton Court. I am told bids for repair are due by January 12, and I sincerely hope the situation will be remedied very soon thereafter. “While the process to correct this intolerable living situation finally has begun, I remain extremely disappointed that RRHA did not act to ensure all residents would have heat before winter began. Representatives at RRHA have known about this impending problem for months, and now residents are being forced to suffer through these dangerously frigid conditions without a reliable heat source. The question must be asked why did RRHA wait until the winter time to address this condition? My constituents and I are deeply disappointed by RRHA’s response and demand better. I will continue to work with representatives at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and RRHA to ensure that repairs are performed expeditiously, and that heat is restored to all impacted residents as quickly as possible.”
So it will be at least a couple of weeks or maybe even longer before residents get heat.
“Why should I have to keep leaving my stove open for heat? Because that’s dangerous. Especially when I got little kids here. That’s dangerous,” says Hatcher.
The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority manages the public housing complex.
It did give space heaters to residents in which the heat is broken. The agency insists there’s minimal risk for fire because the space heaters will shut off if tipped over.
But Hatcher says 2 space heaters for her 3 bedroom unit isn’t enough to keep her family comfortable.
“Who wants to sit in your own house wrapped up in a blanket or a coat or a hat when this is your house,” she adds. “We’re not going outside, we’re sitting in the house. We shouldn’t have to wrap up like Eskimos.”