Portsmouth's Housing Authority director talks about HUD review

13News Now Audrey Esther has the story

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WVEC) -- The Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority remains under fire and facing questions about conditions in the city's public housing while at the same time its board of commissioners prepare for an upcoming federal review.

“Just because they don't see us doing stuff they think we're not doing anything,” says PRHA’s interim executive director, Donnell Brown. 

Once PRHA's special meeting on Wednesday opened back up to the public its interim executive director tells 13News Now that it’ll be ready for HUD's upcoming on-site review and will have submitted or have ready all 28 requested items such as banking information, budgets, and credit card statements.

“I don't know what they're going to find because honestly you've got to remember we are human we make mistakes but I don't think there's anything to the level of removing the board,” Brown says.

That is exactly what several members of the Portsmouth City Council say they want.

“The board is not competent and the Vice Mayor, myself and a few others feel that way,” said Portsmouth City Council member Bill Moody during Tuesday’s city council meeting.

“Since I've been here I've not seen any mismanagement of money. I have not seen anything where any money has been taken. I have not seen any of that and I can't tell you why the council is saying that,” Brown says.

On Tuesday, council members also had a lot to say about thirty one units at Swanson Homes Apartments that are still without hot water or heat due to storm damage from Hurricane Matthew.

“Those folks over there have endured two weeks of inhumane living,” Moody said on Tuesday.

As of Wednesday, Brown says PRHA had placed most of those residents in hotels. 

“They will stay at those hotels until we get those units back up and running,” she says. “I can't tell you when because I don't know when.”

That’s because as crews make repairs, she says they find more things in those units that need to fixed. 

“Right now I can't gauge as to how long it's going to take to fix those units,” she says.

In the meantime, she says she hopes the public doesn't lose trust in the housing authority or its staff.

“We're working very hard to take care of our residents,” Brown says. “So I just don't know what else to say other than that.”

HUD’s onsite review will take place in early December. 


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