Center for Investigative Reporting wins award for exposing substandard Richmond Housing Authority

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

The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) on Wednesday received an award from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Northern California chapter (SPJ) related to its extensive coverage of the troubled Richmond Housing Authority that exposed allegations of mismanagement, misuse of funds and squalid conditions.

CIR won the award for Data Visualization, which it will share with the San Francisco Chronicle and KQED. Early this year, the three news outlets unveiled a series of stories exposing awful conditions affecting seniors and disabled residents of Richmond’s public housing complexes, including the Hacienda.

They also exposed allegations of corruption by city officials accused of misusing government funds while failing to respond to the basic needs of tenants.

CIR’s coverage, which included an online tool that allowed citizens to take a virtual tool of the Hacienda, examining each unit’s various problems, led to RHA Housing Director Tim Jones declaring the Hacienda uninhabitable. City Council then voted to relocate more than 100 tenants from the building.

In a statement, SPJ said CIR’s data visualizations “encourage readers to explore details that would normally get lost in a government report.”

Check out CIR’s entire package of stories and online tools here.

While the journalists should be proud of their work, CIR has an online tool reminding us of an unfortunate fact: Even though the Hacienda was deemed uninhabitable 244 days ago, it remains inhabited while government officials figure out where tenants will go and who will pay for the relocation.

CIR has an online tool reminding us of this: