Posts Tagged ‘RRHA’

Get involved!

Food Not Bombs is catering the 5th annual RePHRAME Forum “Eliminating Poverty, Protecting Community”

  • Good Shepherd Baptist Church 1127 N. 28th Street, Richmond, VA 23223
  • A Discussion on “Unpacking the 2010 Census” & the Upcoming Mayor’s Anti-Poverty Commission’s Report

More info on the event here: http://www.facebook.com/events/285008308277367/?fref=ts

We will be cooking a spaghetti dinner for about 100 people. Folks who want to help us cater this event should meet at the Wingnut, 2005 Barton Avenue, at 2pm on Thursday Nov. 1st.

If anyone has garlic, onions, noodles, bread, oil, tomatoes, sauce, etc. to donate please let us know. You can call 804 300 0023 or drop the supplies off at the Wingnut.

What’s RePHRAME you say?

RePHRAME, Residents of Public Housing in Richmond Against Mass Evictions, is an alliance of public housing residents, advocates, and allies committed to housing justice for all in Richmond.

The RePHRAME Concerns & Demands:

1. There should be 1-for-1 replacement of any public housing units lost through public housing redevelopment. In other words, there should be no net lossof public housing units. In addition, location of newly created public housing units, and other aspects of the redevelopment process, should increase the employment, education, and other opportunities of public housing residents.

2. Current residents should have the right to return to newly developed public housing without any additional screening or requalification process. In the past, additional credit checks and other screenings (above and beyond those to which public housing residents are routinely subjected) have been used to effectively prevent previous residents from coming back to the newly developed housing. We believe redevelopment should not be used to get rid of residents who have done nothing to warrant eviction.

3. Public housing residents should have a meaningful voice in decisions regarding their housing and communities. Currently only 1 out of 7 RRHA commissioners is a public housing resident. RePHRAME proposes adding 2 additional seats to the RRHA Board of Commissioners which would be filled with RRHA residents.

4. RRHA currently requires that residents mail their rent payment to a SunTrust bank address in Baltimore, MD. Residents must often pay late fees through no fault of their own due to delays in the mail system or processing delays in Baltimore. In February, hundreds of residents paid late fees when a blizzard caused the mail system to shut down. According to RePHRAME’s research of dozens of housing authorities in Virginia and nationally, RRHA alone requires residents to mail rent out of state. RePHRAME surveyed hundreds of public housing residents in Richmond, and the overwhelming consensus is for a local rent payment option, at either the RRHA rent office in their neighborhood or at a local bank.

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ADM Contractors, Inc. Fraudulently Promised Northside Residents Construction Jobs

Earlier this week, ADM Contractors held what was supposedly a job interview/application on Wednesday June 27th. What ended up happening was a couple hundred unemployed people were used as pawns in a media stunt of sorts.

Folks at the Wingnut heard earlier this week from our neighbors about a job opportunity. Word on the street was that the company building the new RRHA housing on Dove St. was hiring 100 people from nearby neighborhoods like Southern Barton Heights and Highland Park to do the construction. Anyone from the area interested was told to go at 5pm on Wednesday to Overby Shepperd School to apply.

A bunch of us went, and even early, saw over 100 people there. There was no line, and the only thing happening was that a single spiral bound notebook was being passed around for people to write down their names and their phone numbers. One of us asked and was told that we would all get called on a later date to come in to the office and fill out applications.This seemed kind of weird. The man also said that we were waiting to go inside the school to hear a lecture about the project we would be working on. This also seemed a little off.

Everyone who was waiting for their turn to sign into the little notebook was standing around in the unpleasantly hot sun. Around 5:05, another man, Ronnie Jennings, CEO of ADM Contractors showed up. He started herding the crowd back and forth and eventually began delivering a speech.

He refused to use a megaphone or speak up, so most of the crowd of close to 200 people at this point had no idea what he was saying. The things we could make out included him saying that “we were all here to work”, and to “get paid on fridays”, and “thank god for the opportunity”. He also mentioned that he was building 3 jails, a school, and a housing project.

He lost some of our interest at the jail part, and one of us exclaimed, “Who the fuck would want to build a jail?”

Then he announced that at 6pm we would be going inside the school to hear more. Well, as rousing as his speech was, some of us decided a)we wouldn’t want to build a jail, and b) our odds of getting called were probably the same whether or not we waited 45 more minutes in the hot sun or not, so we left and went home.

Two of us did stay, along with the majority of the crowd, confused, but desperate for work, and willing to sit through weird things in the hopes of landing a job. They waited an additional 45 minutes in the summer heat for what happened next.

The crowd was then split into 3 groups; women, laborers, and contractors. Another one of our friends left during this sexist separation of job applicants. Once split up, the crowd went into the school. Inside it turned out to be a community meeting with members of City Council present, and not a job opportunity at all.

6th District Councilwoman Ellen Robertson announced that she had no idea people were coming expecting jobs, which sent the crowd into an uproar. It seems that Mr. Jennings coerced a couple hundred unemployed people into attending the meeting as some sort of publicity stunt. It is unclear at this time whether or not Mr. Jennings or ADM Contractors, Inc. has this or any other contract with the City of Richmond.

One of us who did attend wrote immediately after the event that they, “Just sat around for a couple of hours in the hot ass sun without water because people were going around the community saying a developer was looking to hire laborers. There were a couple of hundred of us and they kept telling us we were all going to get a job if we waited there and went into an auditorium when they were ready. When a news crew finally showed up they brought us all in and it was a community meeting with members of city council members there. The councilwoman from our district was a the front of the crowd and she told us none of us were leaving the auditorium with a job and apologized if we felt we were lied to. Everyone was pretty furious at that moment and most of us stormed out as the councilwoman begged us to stick around for the meeting.” – WT

6th District Councilwoman Ellen Robertson had this to say about the incident:  “No one was more surprised than I to see so many people expecting to receive a job. The meeting was for the purpose of discussing development on Dove. Based on who approached me as the spoke person and took credit for coordinating getting people out for the purpose of discussing jobs, his card identifies him as Ronnie Jennings of ADM Contractors, Inc. To my knowledge he is not a contractor on the job. I had no discussion with Jennings prior to the community meeting and had no knowledge of the word on the street. However, I am willing to work with all those who attended to find jobs. I asked everyone there to sign up so I could contact them. However, Mr Jennings took all the sign in sheets so I don’t have any contact information except his.”

Folks we interviewed from Southern Barton Heights who had gone to apply for jobs were all quite upset at how they were treated. Richard Williams said, “That was wrong. Having all those people come down their waiting for a job in the heat”. When asked what they were expecting one man said, “What was said was for a job, you could come down there and get a job. Nobody got nothing”.

The people who made the effort, waited in the sun, and got nothing for it feel violated and upset. Dmitry said, “I felt angry, and taken advantage of” and Roger felt like, “They were playing with our emotions, it was nothing but a waste of time”.

And summing up many people’s feelings about the whole fiasco – “That’s some bullshit.” -anon.

So where do we go from here?

Ronnie Jennings and ADM Contractors should NOT be given contracts by the City of Richmond. They have violated the trust of a couple hundred citizens of Richmond.

The Dove St. housing project should be constructed using laborers from Southern Barton Heights, Barton Heights, and Highland Park. We are the people who live here, who will be effected by the construction, and who should benefit from it through job opportunities.

Residents of Northside NEED jobs.

We showed our willingness to take work offered to us over 200 strong on Wednesday June 27th, standing in the hot sun while being lied to. People here need jobs that we can access- jobs in our community that we can walk or ride bikes to. What happened on Wednesday was offensive and a violation of the people here looking for jobs. Folks with real job opportunities should keep Southern Barton Heights and Highland Park in mind as places to find folks willing to work.  Come here to find workers, and if you are hiring for jobs in these neighborhoods, please definitely find your workers here.

If you want to get the contact information for people on Northside who are willing to work construction jobs, please get in touch. We are going to try to get the lists that Ronnie Jennings took back from him, but in the mean time, will be assembling a list of our own to pass on to people willing to help our neighbors find jobs.  (804) 303 5449 or email wingnut_collective@yahoo.com

Some of the Wingnut went to the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) meeting on March 21st, to support members of the groups Residents of Public Housing in Richmond Against Mass Eviction (RePHRAME). http://rephrame.blogspot.com/

RePHRAME asked for support at the meeting because RRHA had recently sent public housing residents in scattered sight homes (the more effective and humane sort of public housing as opposed to creating pockets of extreme poverty) had just received letters telling them that RRHA was trying to get approval from Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to sell off the homes as they were too costly to maintain. If they were able to do this, residents would have 90 days to move. RePHRAME supports residents of public housing when they are threatened with displacement.

Many supporters came to the meeting to show that RePHRAME members are not an isolated bunch. In fact, there were so many people there that board room was completely full and some folks had to stay on the outside of the building.  The RRHA office at 901 Chamberlayne was using a metal detector on all visitors, which is a new policy. We tried to ask about the policy, and when it was implemented, and got a general run around about how many gun shots there had been in that area.

We took video of part of the meeting. It was Mo’s first time filming a meeting, so its clipped into a few separate parts, and is a little rough. They weren’t sure about proper manners when it comes to filming a meeting.

The speakers bring up many good points as to why they need to be allowed to stay in the homes where they’ve been paying rent for decades (you’d think they deserve to own them outright after so many years of paying rent). The basic message from all of the people who spoke is that RRHA needs to respect the residents of public housing more, needs to communicate with the residents better, and that RRHA has a long legacy of racism and problematic policies that it will have to really move away from in order to gain the trust of any residents.

Here are the videos:

and…

and finally…
 

The Richmond Public Housing Authority is trying to sell some properties and displace the residents of them. More below!

Please come out to support residents of public housing in Richmond! RePHRAME is an organization of public housing residents that has been doing advocacy work for years in Richmond to help protect the rights of the residents. RRHA has a long history of abuses and bad behavior towards the communities it is supposed to be working for. Please help spread the word!

On March 21, please attend the RRHA Board of Commissioners meeting (5:30
PM at 901 Chamberlayne Parkway, Richmond) to show support for the affected
 residents, who will speak during the public comment period.

If you can’t make the meeting, please call RRHA and let them know that they should not displace residents, or sell off public housing properties (especially without the input of the residents). Phone: (804) 780-4200

From the Richmond Peace Education Center:

[RPEC co-sponsored call to action]

RPEC friend,

The peace center is part of the RePHRAME coalition, which supports the
needs and rights of Richmond’s public housing residents.

**We have been alerted to a situation and are calling for your help with a
response.**

Dozens of low income people who live in “scattered site single-family
public housing” recently received letters from the Richmond Redevelopment
Housing Authority stating that it plans to seek approval from HUD to sell off
their homes. The letters warn the residents that they could be forced to
move if HUD approves. (Their scattered site homes are  detached homes within
neighborhoods and not large public housing complexes–some are found for
example in Randolph).

RRHA wants to sell off the houses and move the families into the city’s
older existing large public housing complexes. Many of
those who received the letters are upset because they’ve lived in the
houses for decades. They don’t want to be forced to move, and don’t wish
to relocate to Gilpin, Mosby, etc. RRHA itself has argued that poverty should
be deconcentrated—and yet these scattered-site homes threatened
by potential sale are among the most “deconcentrated” that RRHA owns.

Before they can ask  HUD for permission to sell the homes, RRHA must get
their own Board of Commissioners to approve selling off the homes. In a
public meeting on WED. MARCH 21 at 5:30, we expect RRHA’s Board of
Commissioners will consider and vote on a resolution giving RRHA the green
light to seek HUD approval to sell the homes.

Concerned Richmonders can and should call for a stop to further reductions
of affordable housing, and to the planned dislocation of these Richmond families.

**On March 21, please attend the RRHA Board of Commissioners meeting (5:30
PM at 901 Chamberlayne Parkway, Richmond) to show support for the affected
residents, who will speak during the public comment period.**

RePHRAME will select public housing residents to act as spokespeople at
the meeting. RePHRAME thanks community partners for attending to show support, and to show the Board of
Commissioners that the residents facing possible dislocation have broader community support.

Hey Yall!!!!
Food Not Bombs shows solidarity with the public housing advocacy group RePHRAME by catering their monthly meetings which occur on the 4th Thursday of Each Month. This Thursday is that Thursday.
So that means some folks who are around need to come to the WIngnut around 3pm Thursday to start cooking some food. It doesn’t have to be as much as a Sunday meal, usually only about 30 people will be there.
Please message the group if you can come so everyone can know if we will have enough people to cook!!
Here is more info about REPHRAME and the meeting if you want to attend!

RePHRAME Monthly Meeting

Thursday, May 27

5:30-7:00PM

123 East Broad (2nd & Broad)

Legal Aid Justice Center Building

Agenda Items:

  • Summer Outreach
  • September Forum
  • Follow-Up with RRHA
  • Video Project
  • MOUs, Partner Org Updates (more…)