Hacienda residents scold Richmond officials

More than 75 Richmond residents chastised city officials Wednesday night about poor conditions at the Hacienda, one of the city’s most vexed public housing complexes.

Occupants complained about issues from leaky roofs to pest infestations during the meeting.

The meeting was called by Councilmen Nat Bates and Corky Boozé, with Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles and City Councilman Jael Myrick also in attendance.

Myrick and other city officials promised to take action, and suggested residents move out of the building. Myrick told the residents:

“This situation is absolutely unacceptable. I am ready to vote to bulldoze this place tomorrow.”

The Center for Investigative Reporting described the housing authority as among the most troubled in the nation. It attributed these conditions to misuse of public funds, towering debt and poor staff performance at the six-story complex on Roosevelt Avenue.

Resident Dolores Johnson told the CoCo Times:

“There are no happy tenants here.”

Bedbugs were cited as one the major issues within the complex. Some residents lifted their shirts to expose bites to city officials.

Councilman Tom Butt was skeptical, saying he had recently visited the Hacienda complex. He published a report on his website criticizing CIR’s story, and thought conditions at the complex were better than reported.

The meeting instilled a new sense of urgency in the community, with the City Council scheduling a special meeting next week to discuss housing authority issues.