Richmond Public Housing
The Richmond Housing Authority is running a nearly $7 million deficit and owes the feds $2.2 million for past contracting mistakes. The federal government is threatening to take control of the Housing Authority this year if key financial benchmarks are not met.
Geneva Eaton has learned to deal with life in Hacienda: the stench of mold from the stairwell in front of her door, the winter she spent huddled at her stove for heat, the broken security gate that allows drug dealers and squatters to walk past the paid security guards and urinate on her doorstep. But the mice were too much.
For eight months, the 73-year-old woke to handfuls of half-dead mice wriggling in the glue traps lining the floors and cupboard of her apartment. In the space of a few hours, she caught 12. She put her nicest family belongings into storage. She went to bed with the lights on, afraid that the vermin she heard chewing through her walls would bite her in her sleep.
Officials at the Richmond Housing Authority know the Hacienda high-rise, one of its five public housing projects, is infested with mice and roaches. Residents have filed more than 80 complaints about it in the past year, according to agency records. But maintenance workers have done little to fix the problem.