Housing Authority executive grilled at City Council

Grand jury offers harsh critique on Richmond Housing Authority
Hacienda housing complex

Residents sounded off at the City Council meeting Tuesday about the deplorable conditions in Richmond’s public housing.

Tenants are complaining of bugs, rodents, mold, plumbing issues and a host of other problems at the Hacienda and Nevin Plaza developments.

The poor conditions came to light in a recent scathing news report that accused management of the Richmond Housing Authority of misspending public money while residents live in filth.

“I have defecation coming through the toilet when it flush…we’re talking about roaches, bed bug bites, I have pictures to show it,” said Francis Clay, who added that he’s filed a half-million-dollar lawsuit against the Richmond Housing Authority.

The authority’s Executive Director Tim Jones is under fire for failing to address tenant concerns while receiving large pay raises, and for allegedly improperly spending public money for personal uses such as gas and expensive meals.

On Tuesday, Jones apologized to tenants but denied mismanagement, saying the main problem is a lack of federal funding. Both Jones and City Manager Bill Lindsay accused the critical news investigation of being largely inaccurate, but admitted the probe revealed problems that need immediate attention, particularly at Hacienda.

City maintenance records show many of the issues brought up in the news report had been remedied, Lindsay said. He said he didn’t realize how bad things were at Hacienda.

A few councilmembers and residents said the problems have been around for years and that current management is apparently not doing enough. Councilman Nat Bates said he has as much confidence in Housing Authority management as he has in the Oakland Raiders making the Super Bowl next season.

The Richmond Housing Authority is reportedly $7 million in the red and could be taken over by the federal government if the situation isn’t remedied.

The City Council will hold closed door meetings about the Housing Authority this week.