DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Tensions ran high Tuesday night as residents of McDougald Terrace demanded answers from city leaders about the state of Durham’s public housing.
Residents and supporters gathered outside of the Durham City Council meeting, but had to protest for their voices to be heard.
“I am appalled at the city,” said Ashley Canady, President of the McDougald Terrace Resident Council. “It’s sad we had to come out here and raise hell for them to let us speak.”
The council eventually opened up the podium to some of them. Many described the emotional toll this crisis is taking on their families.
“This is horrible. Do go in these hotels and have to explain to these folks the lies that are being told to them. Kicking that can down the road, knowing it ain’t going nowhere,” one person said.
Other families living in public housing said they wonder if their homes are safe and whether they can trust the Durham Housing Authority. One woman testified: “We have to sit and stay in our toxic environment, and not because we made it that way.”
“I really feel for each of you all who are in that situation. It’s a terrible situation,” said Durham Mayor Steve Schewel.
It’s a situation the mayor said he’s committed to turning around. He said that the city is pledging millions of dolllars to make things right.
Canady said it’s not enough.
“Our hotels are treating our families like bottom feeders,” she said. “I’m so tired of people saying they feel us. But if you ain’t walking this walk, you don’t know what it’s like.”
The DHA has not given a timeline for when or if families at McDougald Terrace will be able to return home.
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