RePHRAME to Ask Local Officials for Concrete Change On September 16, 2010, RePHRAME will hold its 3rd Annual Community Forum on Public Housing Redevelopment. The event will be from 5:30 to 7:30PM and take place at Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, located at 14 West Duval Street in Richmond.
The two main issues RePHRAME will address at the forum are the rent payment policy for public housing residents and the need for increased resident representation on the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) Board of Commissioners. Regarding rent payment, RRHA currently requires that residents mail their rent payment to a SunTrust bank address in Baltimore, MD. Residents must often pay late fees through no fault of their own due to delays in the mail system or processing delays in Baltimore. In February, hundreds of residents paid late fees when a blizzard caused the mail system to shut down.
According to RePHRAME's research of dozens of housing authorities in Virginia and nationally, RRHA alone requires residents to mail rent out of state. RePHRAME surveyed hundreds of public housing residents in Richmond, and the overwhelming consensus is for a local rent payment option, at either the RRHA rent office in their neighborhood or at a local bank. RePHRAME has invited members of the RRHA Board of Commissioners to respond to these concerns at the forum.
RePHRAME will also ask members of City Council to increase the number of seats on the RRHA Board of Commissioners from seven to nine, and designate the two additional seats for residents of public housing or other assisted housing. Currently only one out of seven commissioners is a public housing resident. Over the last 18 months, RePHRAME has discussed this issue and other concerns with every member of City Council as well as Mayor Jones. Several councilmembers have expressed interest in increasing resident representation, and Mayor Jones has publicly expressed support as well.
In addition to invited participants from City Council and the RRHA Board of Commissioners, speakers on September 16 will include RePHRAME members who live in public housing; Dr. Thad WIlliamson from the University of Richmond; and Reverend Tyrone Nelson, pastor of Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church.