Aging buildings, COVID-19 to blame for repair delays at Durham public housing units, CEO says

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — From leaky pipes to bulging ceilings, several families who live in public housing complexes in Durham are demanding better living conditions as they continue to deal with maintenance problems that have gone on for months.

Arleen Webster lives at the Scattered Sites public housing complex on Mozelle Street in East Durham.

She showed CBS 17 the leaky pipes under her kitchen sink that consistently leak water on her pots and pans.

Her husband also showed us how their stove overheats and catches on fire when they try to cook.

“I’m not trying to live rich, I’m just trying to live comfortably,” Webster said.

Webster said these problems have gone on for months. She said they put in work orders, but nothing has been done to address these issues.

“You call them and they say they’re going to do this and they have the order in, but you don’t see anybody,” Webster said. “I want the Housing Authority to do their job.”

On Sunday, Durham Housing Authority CEO Anthony Scott told CBS 17 through text that given the age of most of their properties, “numerous work orders” are generated on a daily basis.

Scott said that the highest priority is placed on issues that present a health or safety risk.

In addition, he added that DHA has gotten further behind on completing the work orders due to COVID-19 delays earlier in the year.

Scott said DHA has brought on additional staff to address the backlog and there is also an effort to hire licensed contractors.

Meanwhile, families like the Websters will continue to live at Scattered Sites and wait for repairs to be done.

“It’s very frustrating, and sometimes I sit here and cry to myself, it’s just hard,” Webster said. “We need to do something about this problem right here, someone needs to help us.”

CBS 17 has asked the Durham Housing Authority for the total number of work orders that have been submitted that have not yet been completed, but we are still waiting to receive that information.

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