RRHA wants to work with private developers to rebuild new housing and amenities on its properties. Under federal law, residents would have a right to return to the communities once new housing is built there. Residents also will be offered vouchers to seek housing in the private rental market or the option of moving to another RRHA property.
During the review process, tenant advocates lodged complaints about RRHA’s plans. They questioned the housing authority’s public engagement process and whether it was based on residents’ wishes.
RRHA accepted written feedback on the plan, which also includes administrative and policy changes for its tenants, during a 45-day period from mid-August through September. It also hosted two virtual public input sessions, where its staff presented the plan and people could weigh in. Those sessions, held in late September, were sparsely attended.
One hundred comments were received in total, said Angela Fountain, an RRHA spokeswoman. A majority of the input came in the form of a chain letter that contended the plan would be detrimental to residents if approved.
That charge prompted a point-by-point response from the agency in news release form, defending its process and pledging to protect tenants from displacement during redevelopment.
The Richmond Advisory Board, led by former commissioner Marilyn Olds, also sent a letter stating RRHA was making a good-faith effort to inform residents about its plans.