Tuesday, April 24, 2012

RePHRAME Educates Community, Calls for RRHA to Consider the Voice of Residents

Contact: Kenneth Yates @ causticcastle@gmail.com/
               and/or 804.317.1938                                        
               Cora Hayes @ hayes3517@gmail.com/                                                                                                                  
               and/or 804.303.5459
Email Contact: rephrame@gmail.com/
                         and/or 804.476.0756                                    

Residents of Public Housing Against Mass Eviction (RePHRAME) will hold a teach-in, press conference and cookout from 4pm to 7pm on Friday, April 27, 2012, at 1600 Colorado Avenue* in the Randolph neighborhood.  The press conference will begin at 5:00PM. The location of the event is one of the homes that may be sold as part of a proposal by Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) that would further reduce its investment in affordable housing.  Speakers will include Charlene Harris and Cora Hayes of RePHRAME, as well as Richmond City Council Member E. Martin Jewell.

RRHA indicated plans to request approval from HUD to sell 120 single-family homes that make up its “Scattered Site Small House Used House” program.  Currently these homes provide decent, stable & affordable housing for some of Richmond’s most economically vulnerable residents.  The purpose of the April 27th event is to educate the community about this plan, raise awareness, and fine-tune a strategy for additional civic engagement regarding other concerns held by residents of RRHA-operated housing.

Since 1999, RRHA has demolished a total of 500 public housing units in Blackwell and Dove Court.  To date, not a single unit of public housing has been created to replace this lost housing.  RRHA now wants to eliminate another 120 homes, leaving the residents with limited options.  Despite its stated goal of “de-concentrating” poverty, RRHA plans to move residents out of these scattered-site homes and into larger, concentrated public housing communities such as Gilpin Court and Mosby Court.  RePHRAME asks the question: "Why would you move people from scattered housing to concentrated housing if your goal is de-concentration?”

RePHRAME members are still concerned about the status of resident commissioner seats on the RRHA Board of Commissioners, as well as a new policy that requires background checks of all RRHA residents. “It should be a more collaborative process as mandated by HUD.  It appears that RRHA views residents as part of the problem and not as a part of the solution,” says RePHRAME member Lillie A. Estes.

RePHRAME is a coalition of public housing residents and community-based organizations that works to ensure that the housing-related concerns of low-income Richmonders are addressed.  RePHRAME wants RRHA to stop reducing its much-needed affordable housing stock resources, and start focusing on the concerns of its residents.

* - “RePHRAME Presents a May Day Teach-In & Neighborhood Cookout!” is located on GRTC Route #10- Riverview. The bus stop is at the corner of S. Lombardy Street & Colorado Avenue, right next to the cookout event.