Advocates for Public Housing Residents Push for Change - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Advocates for Public Housing Residents Push for Change

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Advocates for those living in Charlottesville's public housing met Wednesday night to talk about how they can get the city to improve conditions. 

This comes after the city received low grades from a federal housing and urban development report. 

It's back to the drawing board for the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. After a tough review from HUD, there are some needed changes.  

The HUD report released last month cites a laundry list of issues with the housing authority - issues that threaten the agency's financial stability. 

Now there are some proposed changes, but not everyone agrees with them.

"What we've seen today is that they're very much interested in raising fees on the backs of residents as a way to deal with some of their financial problems," said Brandon Collins, a member of Charlottesville's Public Housing Association of Residents. 

HUD's findings cite a lack of trained staff and reluctance to follow rent collection procedures. In response, the authority says it will work on making sure housing sites are diverse in income and raise the minimum rent from $25 to $50.    

"My one concern was about the rent going up and things like that because I'm on a limited income and I can barely make it myself with the low income that I'm on," said Frances Washington, who lives in public housing. 

Those who live in public housing are also subject to a $25 late fee and face eviction after four late payments. The Public Housing Association of Residents says that's not the right solution.  

"We would still like to see an eviction prevention strategy rather than eviction enforcement," Collins said. 

Although these changes are not set in stone, the housing authority chair says they are mandatory.    

"These are requirements that HUD has in their regulations and they have suggested certain forms as ways to gather that information," said Keith Woodard, housing authority board member. 

There are three public hearings scheduled this month to discuss these potential changes.

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