Editor’s Note: The Richmond City Council convened a special meeting on March 12 to review the results of an independent investigation of highly publicized accusations of neglect by the Richmond Housing Authority at the city’s public housing complexes. At the meeting, lead inspector Michael Petragallo of Sterling Company Inc. presented the group’s findings from the five public housing properties that were assessed, including the Hacienda housing project, which was a focal point of the investigation. The City Council voted for an evacuation of all residents of the Hacienda complex, which will cost the city roughly $500,000. Richmond Pulse asked residents who attended the meeting to weigh in on the council’s decision.
Terrence L. Griffiths, 57:
I am a resident at the Hacienda apartments… and I am here to protest the terrible conditions that I have been living in for the last three years. I am interested in seeing the Hacienda torn down and the residents be given vouchers to go to other Section 8 [housing] until something is done about that complete building site. That building has been here since the 1940’s and has all types of problems. The living conditions are so sub-standard, no one would want to live there. My own family won’t even come and visit me because the building is so deplorable, with roaches and rats. I am disabled and I don’t even have access to the elevators. What I would like to see is that all of the residents be moved out of that dinosaur building and [that it] be torn down and rebuilt with quality substance materials [so that we can] start off fresh. Then, as residents, if we’d like to come back into the new Hacienda, I think that should be our privilege.
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