Richmond public housing residents express frustration

Residents of Richmond's 'uninhabitable' Hacienda will soon relocate
The Hacienda housing complex

More than 70 Richmond public housing residents attended a meeting Wednesday at the Hacienda complex to express “years of pent-up frustration” about their living conditions, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Amy Julia Harris, author of a recent series of news articles about deplorable public housing conditions in Richmond, reported that five council members showed up at a packed meeting to listen to outraged residents.

Councilmen Nathaniel Bates and Corky Boozé organized the meeting to allow residents to talk about their problems without fear of retaliation, Harris reported.  Among the issues cited by residents were rodent infestations, roof leaks, lax security and staff disrespect.

Most of the anger at the meeting was directed at Richmond Housing Authority Executive Director Tim Jones and Kathleen Jones, the asset operations manager, Harris reported. The two are not related.

“More than half of the residents raised their hands when the council members asked if they had been disrespected by Kathleen Jones,” according to the CIR report.

Some councilmembers have called for the firing of Tim Jones, who is accused of mismanagement and misuse of funds, but City Manager Bill Lindsay has so far stood by him. Neither Lindsay nor Tim Jones attended Wednesday’s meeting.

Lindsay claims the news reports have sensationalized the story and are based on old information. The city was aware of the public housing problems long before the media reports published last month and has been working to fix them, he said earlier.