Vanishing fridges, stoves subject of latest CIR probe into Richmond Housing Authority

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

In an email to media members and elected officials Monday, Richmond resident Charles Smith forwarded a troubling story (yep, yet another) about the Richmond Housing Authority by the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR).

“Is anybody paying attention? Does anyone care?” Smith stated in the email subject line.

CIR has already won an award for exposing major problems at the agency that houses hundreds of Richmond’s most vulnerable residents, many of them seniors and disabled.

The latest CIR report states 167 of the 598 stoves and refrigerators purchased for the public housing agency’s tenants have “vanished in the last eight years” at a total cost of $53,000. CIR linked the lost items to agency manager Debra Holter, who purchased most of the appliances and is currently under investigation stemming from CIR’s discovery that she improperly gave her husband public contracts to perform maintenance work.

It is just one of many allegations the Richmond Housing Authority has faced in 2014.

In response to Smith’s question, some are paying attention. Due to CIR’s reporting, the Contra Costa County civil grand jury is now investigating the Richmond Housing Authority.