Richmond’s new public housing leader weighs in on next big step to dissolve the ‘courts’

11 new RRHA properties in the works

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The new head of Richmond’s public housing is weighing in on the next big step in dissolving some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s new CEO Damon Duncan says 11 new properties across the city are now slated to be redeveloped, ultimately helping to elevate people out of concentrated poverty. The move comes on top of other RRHA redevelopments currently under way.

Duncan, who's been on the job for just under two months, says you'll be seeing a lot more construction across the city, like the project currently underway on 2nd Street, near Interstate 95. Those new apartments are in the works for some of the senior residents at Faye Towers, also an RRHA property.

Eleven new mixed-income, mixed-use properties are now slated to be rehabbed, totaling over 550 apartments. Tenants will get a more affordable rate through HUD’s rental assistance program.

Duncan says the ultimate goal is to dissolve the public housing neighborhoods, the six ‘courts’ in the city, like Gilpin Court, in Jackson Ward.

“Low-income, dense housing is proven to not work,” said Duncan.

“They might as well just tear the projects down and move us somewhere else,” said Jaiaqua Niles, a mother who lives in Gilpin Court.

Richmond's six courts are also plagued with maintenance problems, as well as being over 50 years old.

“They’ve really exceeded their useful life by a good 15 years,” said Duncan.

The city just broke ground on a new mixed-income development across from Creighton Court in Church Hill. Several developments to replace Faye Towers senior living apartments. Duncan says Gilpin Court is next on the list, after Creighton, for redevelopment.

“We’re on the initial stages of working on Gilpin. We’ve jump started… on Jackson Ward,” said Duncan.

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