The Center for Investigative Reporting just released a scathing new look at Richmond, Calif., home to one of the worst apartment buildings in one of the worst public housing agencies in the country.
Residents reportedly live in fear and squalor:
There were at least 16 life-threatening health and safety violations at the five public housing projects managed by the housing authority, according to the two most recent years of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports. Seniors and disabled residents lived amid exposed wiring and missing smoke detectors and fire alarms. Most well-kempt housing projects don’t have these major health and safety violations, HUD says.
Then there are the indignities that don’t show up in formal government reports: A woman with no legs giving herself sponge baths from her bathroom sink because maintenance workers didn’t install a simple safety bar in her shower. The fire department rescuing a paralyzed veteran from his third-floor apartment because the elevators didn’t work for three days. A disabled man who watched in horror for nearly a month as raw sewage slowly dripped from the neighbor’s bathroom upstairs.
This is all happening under the watch of a badly mismanaged housing authority that millions of dollars in the red while its executive director, Tim Jones, bills taxpayers for expensive meals at high-end restaurants.