Monday, November 2, 2009

Request for City Council Candidates of the 7th District Council Person's Response to RePHRAMES Three Major Concerns

Dear Candidates for the 7th District:

RePHRAME requests your responses to our three major concerns regarding public housing redevelopment (explained in detail below).

RePHRAME is an alliance of public housing residents, partner organizations, and individual allies committed to housing justice for all in Richmond.  Our partner organizations include the following:

Center for Neighborhood Enterprise and Economic Development (CNEED)
Fay Towers Tenant Council
Legal Aid Client Advisory Council
Legal Aid Justice Center
Richmond Crusade for Voters
Richmond Jobs With Justice
Richmond NAACP
Richmond Peace Education Center (RPEC)
Richmond Tenant Organization (RTO)
Virginia Organizing Project (VOP)

RePHRAME recently held our 2nd Annual Community Forum on Public Housing Redevelopment, held at Fay Towers and attended by 175 RePHRAME members and supporters.  Five members of City Council and Mayor Jones attended as well.  Over the summer RePHRAME members met with all nine members of Council individually to discuss our major concerns regarding public housing redevelopment.  These concerns are as follows:

1.       There should be 1-for-1 replacement of any public housing units lost through public housing redevelopment.  In other words, there should be no net loss of public housing units.  In addition, location of newly created public housing units, and other aspects of the redevelopment process, should increase the employment, education, and other opportunities of public housing residents.

2.       Current residents should have the right to return to newly developed public housing without any additional screening or requalification process.  In the past, additional credit checks and other screenings (above and beyond those to which public housing residents are routinely subjected) have been used to effectively prevent previous residents from coming back to the newly developed housing.  We believe redevelopment should not be used to get rid of residents who have done nothing to warrant eviction.

3.       Public housing residents should have a meaningful voice in decisions regarding their housing and communities.  Currently only 1 out of 7 RRHA commissioners is a public housing resident.  RePHRAME proposes adding 2 additional seats to the RRHA Board of Commissioners which would be filled with RRHA residents.

Please reply to this message with your responses to the above three concerns.  We ask that your responses include a clear “yes” or “no” for each of the three issues.  Additional explanation is welcome as well.

RePHRAME will circulate any responses received before next week’s election.

Thank you very much.


Andrew Schoeneman (on behalf of RePHRAME)