Rats, leaky pipes, and damaged ceilings: Durham public housing residents demand DHA address issues in their apartments

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Some families who live in public housing complexes in the Bull City are demanding the Durham Housing Authority address ongoing problems in their apartment units.

People who live in at least two different public housing complexes reached out to CBS 17 on Friday about problems in their homes that have gone on for months and have not been addressed.

Towanda McMillan lives in the Hoover Road public housing complex with her children and grandchildren.

McMillan showed CBS 17 the bulging ceiling in her bathroom where there is a gaping hole forming that she said has been there for months.

“Oh that’s a big hole, it looks like it’s all going to come down,” McMillan said.

She also showed us how the pipes under her sink leak every time she turns on the faucet.

McMillan has a plastic bin underneath the pipes to catch all the water that leaks.

She said she has reached out to the Durham Housing Authority about these issues but she said they never get fixed.

In addition to these issues, McMillan said that the heat in her apartment did not work for two weeks and a crew just came by to fix it on Friday.

She said her family is also faced with an ongoing rat problem as they’ve seen multiple rats come through their home.

“It’s scary, because I don’t want to have to kill them, I’m scared to even look at a rat,” McMillan said.
McMillan said DHA has set out rat traps, but she does not think they are doing enough to keep them out.

“This is what we go through living in the projects,” said McMillan. “They’re not doing anything to help us.”

CBS 17 reached out to the Durham Housing Authority’s CEO Anthony Scott on Friday about McMillan’s concerns. Scott told us that he had reached out to staff to get an update on where they were with addressing these issues.

Meanwhile, families at the Scattered Sites public housing community, which is made up of mostly elderly residents, also showed CBS 17 the leaky pipes under their sinks as well.

Arleen Webster showed us how the water from the pipes gets on her pots and pans under the kitchen sink. In addition, she said that her stove does not work properly.

“We need to do something about this problem right here, someone needs to help us,” Webster said.

Linda McMillan who also lives at Scattering Sites has had issues with her hot water heater leaking, her stove is also not working properly, and her refrigerator comes on and off, which causes her food to spoil.

McMillan said they have called the Durham Housing Authority and she is still waiting on them to come out and permanently fix these issues.

“Their attitude toward their residents is sad,” said Donna Wilson, Linda McMillan’s daughter. “Just because we live in the projects, that doesn’t mean we’re not worth nothing.”

A group of families is planning a protest on Sunday morning at 11 am at the Scattered Sites public housing community on Mozelle Street where they will be demanding the issues in these apartments be addressed.

“They need to step up and do what they need to do,” Wilson said.

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