Durham Housing Authority says vast majority of McDougald Terrace residents remain displaced

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The Durham Housing Authority provided an update on McDougald Terrace at its meeting Wednesday evening. It’s been almost two months since hundreds of families were forced to leave their homes at the public-housing complex.

“Its a hard situation and it’s stressful, and it can be depressing, too,” displaced resident Latesha Cotton said.

Cotton has two hotel room, each with a full mattress. This is where her family of eight has been staying since the beginning of January.

“My kids are saying they’re ready to go home. You know what I’m saying? They don’t care,” she said. “I don’t care about the benefits.”

Cotton had called McDougald Terrace home. Elevated levels of carbon monoxide led to the evacuations.

The Durham Housing Authority said 28 families have returned, 16 were relocated to other properties, and 35 were allowed to remain. But 245 families remain in hotels.

“The mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work continues,” said DHA Executive Director Anthony Scott.

It’s costing the city $500,000 a week to keep families in hotels.

Scott said electrical work is moving the slowest. HUD has determined that work is not an emergency.

“We don’t want to have people sitting in hotels just because of that. We want to have them get back home, and then we can have them leave again for 3 to 5 days,” he explained.

Scott said work on another 161 units should be completed by March 7. The final 85 are expected to be done by early April.

While the number of donations has slowed, people have still been dropping off bags of food to these hotels. They include some fruit and snacks.

“Make it safe for my kids to get back home. That’s what’s important to me,” Cotton said.

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