Maureen Hulsey and Claudia Perez with the Flagler HRC
You may have read or heard that in late February, more than 20 households were forced to evacuate their residences in the Prince George Terrace Apartments due to plumbing issues. We are happy to report that, thanks to the Flagler Housing Resource Center (and others), most of those tenants have found new homes.
In late February, Hopewell’s code inspectors determined that 32 apartments in the Prince George Terrace Apartments were unsafe to live in due to plumbing issues. At the time, 21 of those apartments were occupied. The City of Hopewell issued eviction notices to get residents out of those unsafe conditions, and people were given a February 29 deadline to move. Many residents, understandably, were upset at the situation.
The situation has improved dramatically. The apartment complex owner relocated several families into other units at Prince George Terrace. But 12-15 families chose to move out of the complex. According to Hopewell City Councilor Brenda Pelham, volunteers stepped up and helped the families. John Parr with Parr & Abernathy Realty donated a truck, and volunteers from the Hopewell Democratic Committee provided the muscle, to help people move their belongings.
More than half of the displaced families found their new residences with the help of the Flagler Housing Resource Center, the Villa’s new outpost in Petersburg which provides assistance to homeless (or near-homeless) families and individuals. Using rapid re-housing funds provided by Virginia Department of Communities and Development, Claudia Perez, Housing Specialist with the Flagler Housing Resource Center, was able to pay each family’s first month’s rent and utility deposits (if needed) to make the transition that much easier for the affected families. After one month, nine families had been relocated through the Flagler Housing Resource Center.
Alphonso McCloud is one of the affected tenants. At a meeting of the apartment residents, he was referred to the Flagler Housing Resource Center. He recently signed a lease on a new apartment and will be moving in the next couple of days. “Thank God for St. Joseph’s Villa,” said Mr. McCloud. “It seemed like they wanted to help. Some people go through the motions, but they genuinely seemed to care. It was awesome.”
The HRC is located in the Hope Center at 827 Commerce Street
The Flagler Housing Resource Center opened in November 2011. Its mission is to provide rapid re-housing services and homelessness prevention services to individuals and families living in Petersburg and the Tri-Cities area. The HRC also works with the area’s veterans. Since opening in November, the HRC has served 63 households with housing assistance and provided over 150 referrals to partner agencies.
Way to go!