By Amy Julia Harris.
The last of the 100 elderly and disabled residents of the worst public housing complex in Richmond, California, have moved out, nearly two years after the city’s housing director declared their apartment complex uninhabitable following a Reveal investigation.
On Feb. 2, the final senior packed up his belongings and left Hacienda, a roach-infested low-income apartment building that residents had nicknamed the “Haci-hellhole.”
Officials with the Richmond Housing Authority had promised that all the residents would be relocated by August, but dozens of sick and frail seniors continued to languish in squalid conditions as the city scrambled to find affordable housing options in the San Francisco Bay Area’s tight rental market. Many private landlords had extensive waitlists or did not accept the federal Section 8 subsidies residents rely on to pay for their housing.
“It took too long,” said Connie Gary, a 73-year-old resident who moved out in January. “I was afraid I was going to die there.” At least two seniors did die while they were waiting to be moved, Hacienda residents said, and several more were hospitalized.