Residents evicted from apartment wait while landlord resolves issues

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RICHMOND, Virginia – Three days after Grace Place apartments in downtown Richmond were deemed unsafe and residents were forced to leave their homes within hours, city officials met with real estate management to address the issues. gaps.

However, a resident told CBS 6 his situation has not improved.

“They told us to pack some things for the weekend. You know, I packed some stuff for the weekend. That’s all I packed, ”said Nathaniel Kinnard, a resident. “Everything I own is in there.”

The disabled veteran with three children spoke with CBS 6 on the phone Monday. He said he and other residents had been placed in hotels by their property manager, but said his children were running out of clothes, diapers, wipes and food.

He added that his family of four were forced out of their two-bedroom apartment on Friday and now shared a small hotel room with a double bed, in less than ideal conditions, and little information on the length of time. of their stay.

“We are adapting here because we had no choice,” Kinnard said. “This is the situation that was chosen for us, because I had my place. So now, I am made to live here. I am made to live here when my rent is paid elsewhere.”

The Richmond Fire Marshal’s Battalion Commander and the Acting Buildings Commissioner met with the property management of the Grace Place apartment on Monday morning, according to a spokesperson for the Richmond Fire Department.

Property management described what they had done so far to bring the building into compliance, which included starting work on the fire alarm panel and fire extinguishing systems.

The Richmond Fire Department said before tenants could return to the building, repairs to the fire extinguisher system and fire alarm panel needed to be completed, and property management needed to fix the elevators , disinfect the building and have a structural engineer specifically inspect the north wall of the stairwell and produce a report to ensure it is structurally sound.

“The Office of the Fire Marshal identified 18 section violations of the code with 32 unrelated deficiencies throughout the structure. Amy Vu.

Vu said the building had not been boarded up but had been declared unsafe for occupancy, due to a multi-agency inspection on Friday following a complaint brought to the attention of the Fire Marshal on the 17th. October.

She said property management was also in the process of collecting offers from an elevator contractor, a remediation company and a structural engineer. They planned to meet again later in the week with City of Richmond officials for a presentation and review of their progress.

In the meantime, the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Angela Fountain, said there were a total of four Grace Place families who were voucher holders. But since Monday, the RRHA has not been able to help them.

“Unfortunately, as our agency does not provide emergency housing services, it is simply not our responsibility,” said Fountain.

She said the agency had to wait for confirmation from the city that the Grace Place Apartment building was doomed before it could intervene.

“Once we receive confirmation that the building is boarded up, we will speed up this process and contact them to let them know that they can come and pick up an additional voucher so that they can begin their housing search,” Fountain said. .

She said the RRHA had previously received emails from homeowners who indicated they had availability in their buildings for displaced residents.

“There are owners who are really lining up to, uh, help out, you know, these families,” Fountain said.

For Kinnard and so many other residents, help couldn’t come soon enough.

“I want help. I want a place to live,” Kinnard said.

Kinnard started this GoFundMe to help with expenses.


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