PRHA: More than 200 children, adults displaced at Swanson Homes

A notice on a unit at Swanson Homes condemning the residence. (Photo courtesy: Toia Brown)
A notice on a unit at Swanson Homes condemning the residence. (Photo courtesy: Toia Brown)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — 98 adults and 125 children have been displaced due to the living conditions at the Swanson Homes, according to officials with the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority (PRHA.)

Officials noted those numbers Monday morning in a news conference at the PRHA main office.

The housing complex has been the site of numerous issues for residents over the past several weeks.

Residents at Swanson Homes have been without heat and hot water for weeks — a problem that stemmed from flooding during Hurricane Matthew. PRHA admitted last month that there was mold in some of the units.

Portsmouth inspectors check on repairs at PRHA-run Swanson Homes

A total of 32 residents on Oct. 28 found “condemned” signs on their homes. 10 On Your Side learned last week that residents could remain in hotels temporarily before eventually moving into Lincoln Park properties while repairs are made at Swanson Homes.

Officials on Monday noted that they have found 27 vacant units at Lincoln Park for some residents to move in to. However, there are a total of 85 Swanson Homes units in need of repairs.

Local group holds donation drive for flood victims

PRHA interim director Donnell Brown says they will pay for the moving costs, and that school buses have been arranged to pick-up displaced children. All impacted residents will continue to pay rent, unless they are staying with a relative.

Many residents said in October they did not want to spend weeks in a hotel — where they would be unable to cook or have their children picked up by a school bus. Second-floor residents had until the end of last week to get their belongings from Swanson Homes.

“We did not turn our backs on them. We took every effort that we could and as you can see, we’re still doing every effort that we can to try to bring things back to normal,” Brown said at the news conference.

Brown also told 10 On Your Side she believes work at the MLK Extension Project, which is adjacent to Swanson Homes, may be responsible for the flooding. She says she saw sandbags on top of drains in the days after the flooding. WAVY.com reached out to Elizabeth River Tunnels, the agency in charge of the project, but have not heard back.