Durham residents continue seeing problems in public housing as work orders now top 1,100

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — From leaky pipes, to bulging ceilings, to black residue in vents, people who live in public housing in Durham have been dealing with what they call “unlivable” conditions for months as they wait for the Durham Housing Authority to make repairs.

The latest numbers released from the Durham Housing Authority show that as of March 31, there were 1,122 open work orders.

The housing authority started the month of March with 1,025 open work orders. While they closed 836 work orders, they received 963 new work orders in the same month.

As CBS 17 has previously reported, COVID-19 slowed down the response to maintenance requests which led to a backlog of work orders.

In addition to the pandemic, officials also said that some work orders were not being tracked properly.

After CBS 17 aired stories in January about concerns families had about leaky pipes, holes in the ceilings, and rats, the Durham Housing Authority announced they were going to hire more temporary workers to help with the backlog of work orders.

In January, DHA officials told CBS 17 there were 700 open work orders, but four months later that number has grown to 1,122 open work orders.

Durham Housing Authority CEO Anthony Scott told CBS 17 in an email that they are working on creating a maintenance hotline that residents will soon be able to call to report a problem.

Scott said they are currently deciding on a third-party company that will handle the calls.

Scott said they are hoping to have the maintenance repair hotline up and running by the end of the month.

Kaya Bowling lives at Hoover Road apartments and she showed CBS 17 the black residue inside her vents.

“I’m just tired of living like this, it’s nasty, this is filthy, it doesn’t make sense,” Kaya said.

Bowling said the black residue has created a stuffy smell in her apartment, and it makes her and her children sick.

“It seems like a thick air inside here,” Bowling said. “My kids have runny noses, why do they have runny noses inside the house?”

Bowling first showed us the problems in her apartment back in January, and since then none of these issues have been addressed.

She also showed us several electric sockets in her home that are not working and her back door does not lock.

“This place is supposed to be a home, it’s not a home, we can’t call this place a home. We can’t do that because it’s unfit to be at home,” Bowling said.

Bowling said she was not aware the Durham Housing Authority was creating a maintenance repair hotline. She just wants the problems in her apartment fixed soon.

“I don’t feel OK in this apartment, I don’t even want to be here right now,” Bowling said. “This place is filthy, y’all need to fix it or get us out of here.”

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