‘It’s not right’: Swanson Homes residents still without heat and hot water

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Residents who live in at least a dozen units in Swanson Homes are going on three weeks without heat or hot water.

The lack of service stems from two feet of water creeping into their homes Oct. 8 during Hurricane Matthew.

Sheeba Sumpter says the Portsmouth Housing and Redevelopment Authority, which oversees Swanson Homes, has done very little to resolve issues left behind by the storm.

Sumpter says since the hurricane, residents have had no heat, no hot water and mold has started growing on the walls. She has been boiling water in the microwave to clean dishes and take a shower.

“All the way around, they are going to get sick. It’s not right. It’s not fair,” said Sumpter. “[PRHA is] so nonchalant about the whole situation. It’s like they don’t even care.”

PRHA admits there is mold in some units, but the Interim Director Donnell Brown told 10 On Your Side there are no health concerns and residents have not been asked to leave their units.

“There was some mold, but we had a company come and re-mediate all of that. They’ve been working. In fact, they are still there doing a little bit more work,” said Brown.

Mayoral candidates Barry Randall and John Rowe spent several hours in the neighborhood checking on progress Monday night. Both men says PRHA and the city need to work together to expedite the repairs or give residents alternative housing options.

“The people out here are hurting,” said Randall. “We can continue to bring food and toiletry bags but that’s not going to keep them warm and clean their body.”

“These are our neighbors, and it’s really deplorable,” said Rowe. “They are so concerned about their health. They won’t even drink the tap water.”

PRHA says an inspector did check all units following the storm and ruled them safe.

10 On Your Side is still working to learn how long before all services are restored to all residents.