Portsmouth inspectors check on repairs at PRHA-run Swanson Homes

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Repairs at the once-flooded Swanson Homes continued Thursday, but it appears the city’s inspector wants to make sure the repairs are up to par with his standards — showing signs of a strained relationship between PRHA and city officials.

10 On Your Side saw maintenance workers and Servpro crews cleaning out apartments. The repairs come nearly three weeks after damage from Hurricane Matthew. Many units still have mold, mildew, no heat or hot water.

Residents in Swanson homes area of Portsmouth cleaning up after flooding

Monday night, WAVY News reported the conditions that at least 30 residents were living in, including some with mold and mildew on their walls. Several had no heat or hot water since Matthew damaged their equipment. The next day, Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority made hotel arrangements for many residents.

Wednesday, 10 On Your Side reported that the city’s Director of Permits and Inspections, Doug Smith, wanted to observe the progress being made at Swanson Homes, but PRHA said he had to wait 24 hours to enter the property. Thursday morning, Smith, and several team members walked into the Swanson Home units.

“Checking on the progress and inspecting to see that the water heaters they said were repaired were in fact repaired,” Smith told 10 On Your side.

Smith says PRHA owed him a comprehensive plan for remediation last week, which he says still hasn’t been submitted.

Deanna LeBlanc: “The housing authority needs to show you they’re going to make these livable again?”
Smith: “That’s correct. It’s their responsibility to do that.”
LeBlanc: “And at this point you’re not confident in the plan?”
Smith: “They haven’t submitted me a plan as I have asked for to be confident or not.”
LeBlanc: “Why?”
Smith: “Those aren’t questions I can answer.”

Smith says his work isn’t done. He will be back out at Swanson Homes Friday morning.

WAVY.com reached out to PRHA Interim Executive Director Donnell Brown by email and phone to see if she can explain why her plan hasn’t been submitted. She previously showed us an email that demonstrated that something was sent to Smith last Friday. Smith has said any plans have not been specific enough to answer his questions.

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