Creighton Court Vacancies Raise Concerns Among Residents, Advocates at RRHA Meeting
The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Creighton Court has nearly 100 vacant units. Public housing advocates said this could compromise the future of affordable housing in the city.
Only 410 of the complex’s 505 units have people living in them. The remaining 95 are boarded up. Bernice Travers, president of Richmond Crusade of Voters, spoke directly to RRHA officials at a board meeting this week.
“I wouldn't want to live in a neighborhood with boarded houses around me,” Travers said. “It doesn’t look good, it doesn’t feel good and it’s not safe.”
Travers said the empty apartments are problematic for current residents, and the over 3,000 families on the agency’s waiting lists.
Attorneys with the Virginia Housing Justice Program said that the vacancies limit the number of replacement vouchers RRHA would get from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), should the agency apply to demolish Creighton Court.
RRHA’s CEO Damon Duncan said that’s not the case — that HUD determines the number of vouchers granted based on how many people are living on the property in the two years prior to demolition. Jereon Brown, an official with HUD, confirmed Duncan’s statement.
“You don’t want to keep units online when you know you’re going to demolish them and have to move the people,” Brown said. “Why would you pay to repair a unit temporarily that you know you’re going to demolish?”
Monday night, the housing agency also approved the distribution of over $50 million in bonds to private developers — Shockoe I Apartments VA LP, AT Artisan and CRF LLCs.
The funds will be used to renovate the 125-unit Shockoe I Apartments on Hospital Street in Shockoe Valley; the 147-unit Port City II Apartments along Jefferson Davis Highway in Southside and the 152-unit Chamberlayne Senior Apartments on Chamberlayne Ave in Northside.
The final stages of selling the Eastlawn Shopping Center, Richmond’s in the East End, are in the works. It’s currently owned by the RRHA and soon it’ll be bought by the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Richmond.
The housing agency purchased the plaza in 2017, with the intention of using the space of recreational and education activities. According to RRHA officials, the Boys and Girls Club plans to turn the space into a youth community center.