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New Public Housing Crime Czar Cracks Down On Admission To Monthly Board Meeting

Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority's main office on Chamberlayne Parkway
Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority's main office on Chamberlayne Parkway

Some Richmond public housing residents and community members were denied admission to the public housing authority’s board meeting on Wednesday. 

Omar Al-Qadaffi is a housing organizer with the Legal Aid Justice Center. He said Brian Swann, the agency’s new director of public safety and a police officer were guarding the doors.

“It just seems like by any means necessary the housing authority wants to shut their own tenants out of any type of policy making or input,” Al-Qadaffi said. 

Swann directed residents to find the meeting minutes online. However, the agency hasn’t updated meeting minutes since June. 

The meeting was held to discuss the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s (RRHA) financial plan, and revenue bonds for various private developers as part of the agency’s five-year plan. 

Meeting attendees were told the room was at its capacity of 30 people -- which included RRHA staff and board members. Nicholas Da Silva, who’s running for Richmond City Council’s 5th district seat, said capacity has never been an issue before. 

“They told me that they weren’t expecting a lot of people,” Da Silva said. “Which either indicates that they didn’t notice that hundreds of people showed up last time, or that they intended for not a lot of people to show up.”

Da Silva said that developers and officials who had arrived late were given priority entry. Only about four RRHA residents were able to sit in on the meeting.

In a written response, RRHA’s CEO Damon Duncan said the agency will consider “possible logistical changes to improve access to its public meetings.”

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