Swanson Homes, PRHA discussed at City Council meeting

Posted at 6:15 PM, Oct 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-26 00:10:21-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - While it was not on the agenda, the issues for some Swanson Home families became a hot topic of discussion at tonight's city council meeting.

As of Monday night, 30 families in the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority community were without hot water.

Local pastor, Barry Randall, also a mayoral candidate, says he came to the meeting directly from the community where he met with at least 18 families without hot water or heat.

"These people need help at this very moment," he said in front of council.

Councilman Bill Moody later followed up by saying that he feels the PRHA Board of Commissioners are not competent and should be fired.

Vice Mayor Elizabeth Psimas told News 3 on Monday she also wanted to get rid of the Board of Commissioners.

This also the first meeting since council learned that HUD will do an on-site review of PRHA in December.

Councilman Dr. Mark Whitaker argued that city council members never voiced getting rid of the board when tenants had issues in the past.

City Manager Dr. Lydia Patton says she has been in touch with the PRHA interim Executive Director and building inspector about the situation.

She says the hot water heaters are a very specific type that are not readily available so it has been taking some time. PRHA has overnighted more materials and will have staff working on the situation tomorrow.

Mayor Kenny Wright asked for her to continue to stay in touch with them about the situation.

"We should not let situations in a one off situation dictate how we're doing and how we move forward."