Officials call for more federal funding to rebuild aging Durham public housing complexes

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Rats, leaky pipes, and bulging ceilings are common problems that families at public housing complexes in Durham are forced to deal with on a daily basis.

While the Durham Housing Authority plans to launch a maintenance hotline that families can call to help speed up repairs, DHA officials said they are in need of more federal funding to rebuild many of those units.

“McDougald Terrace needs to be replaced, Cornwallis needs to be replaced, Hoover Road really needs to be replaced,” said Dan Hudgins, chair of DHA’s Board of Commissioners. “We would need several million dollars more to bring all of our units back up to a standard that we would like folks to live in.”

Hudgins said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is $50 billion short in maintenance repairs.

U.S. Representative David Price, who represents North Carolina’s Fourth Congressional District, is the chair of transportation and housing appropriations subcommittee.

Price said it has been difficult to get more federal funding for public housing.

“It’s a competitive situation where housing competes against all kinds of other needs,” Price said. “I would say that, particularly with the Trump administration, it was downplayed. They sometimes propose no funding or almost no funding for meeting these public housing needs.”

Price said he will continue to push for more funding for public housing.

CBS 17 also reached out to Durham city councilors and heard back from all but one. Mayor Pro Tem Jillian Johnson said that the city budget is tight, but if DHA is in need of more funding they would consider the request.

Mark Anthony Middleton also said that he would also be in support of helping DHA.

“We are way beyond the fix-it phase and we are way beyond the restoration phase,” Middleton said. “No one should be living like that, especially here in Durham.”

Currently, the Durham Housing Authority has 700 work orders that have not been completed, according to Hudgins. He said they get about 800 new work orders a month.

Officials with DHA said they plan to launch the new maintenance hotline in the coming weeks.

The Durham Housing Authority has also hired five new temporary workers to help them get caught up on repairs.

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