Hundreds attend McDougald Terrace town hall meeting in Durham as inspectors find problems

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The Durham Housing Authority and Durham city leaders held a town hall on Saturday for residents at the McDougald Terrace Apartments.

Hundreds of families have been displaced from the affordable housing complex amid carbon monoxide concerns.

Emotions ran high at the meeting as many people asked for answers.

Housing Authority officials said the residents will be displaced and staying in hotels at least one more week.

DHA leaders said out of the 246 inspections done in apartments so far, the carbon monoxide issues were found in 202 stoves, water heaters and furnaces.

Officials said some of the affected appliances were in the same units.

“My concern is they’re just talking and until we really see anything happen, that’s when we’ll believe,” said one resident.

Officials said the shut-off valves for gas are leaking in some units.

Inspectors also found a need to replace the flue system on the windows and pipes.

About 100 units still need inspections.

“This has happened over years. This is not just all the sudden happening. This has been a year process, years, years and years,” said resident Vicky Webb.

Along with those inspections, DHA said they’ll use this week to get estimates on costs and a timeline for repairs, schedule them, and determine when people can return.

The city is exploring the option of doing away with gas appliances and going electric throughout McDougald Terrace.

An advisory group of 20 residents will be formed to help weigh in.

“When it’s all over, when it’s all said and done, don’t sweep us under the rug and put some cocky shoulders up like you love to do,” one resident said at the meeting.

Several residents at the meeting complained about the accommodations provided.

The majority of problems have to do with transportation and issues at the hotels. About six people said their apartments have been broken into while they’ve been gone, despite the city providing security.

Other ongoing apartment issues, like mold and smelly water, were also brought up.

“In a word —  it’s unacceptable, so we need to do better,” said DHA CEO Anthony Scott.

Scott told residents that they do not have to pay rent this month.

They had representatives with several organizations to talk to people after the meeting about anything from mental health to transportation issues.

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