By Julia Amy Harris.
After months of scouring the rental market to find new homes for displaced residents from a run-down public housing complex, here’s what the Richmond Housing Authority came up with: a list of landlords who don’t accept public housing vouchers or have no vacancies, one extended-stay hotel and a commercial building that is for sale.
Those were some of the options suggested by Autotemp, an Oakland relocation consultant hired by the city for more than $382,000 to move 118 residents out of the squalid Hacienda housing complex.
Scores of Hacienda residents are being moved out of the high-rise after The Center for Investigative Reporting last year exposedresidents’ yearslong struggles with mold, mice and mildew. Their complaints for basic maintenance like plumbing leaks and insect infestations had gone unaddressed by the housing authority’s top brass.
In February 2014, the housing authority’s executive director, Tim Jones, acknowledged that the building was uninhabitable, and the Richmond City Council subsequently pledged to evacuate all the residents.
The next step was hiring Autotemp to find the residents new housing. In a 57-page documentreleased this week, the company described its research into available subsidized housing as promising. “The survey identified numerous replacement housing resources, including landlords willing to accept Section 8 vouchers, within Richmond and the general vicinity,” read Autotemp’s relocation plan. But the fine print shows something far different.