Delays push back reopening of McDougald Terrace

Friday, February 14, 2020
McDougald Terrace progress behind schedule
McDougald Terrace progress behind schedule

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Progress at the McDougald Terrace public housing complex is slower than expected, and only a handful of units are ready for residents to return.

Durham Housing Authority CEO Anthony Scott spoke Friday afternoon and talked about the timeline for allowing families back inside.

He said only eight families will be moving back in Friday.

"We do have residents that will be moving back today, it's not nearly as many as we'd hoped," Scott said.

Scott said even those families that are moving back in may be inconvenienced down the line as DHA plans to make other repairs to the units.

"I want to emphasize though that even though the units have been cleared for immediate health and safety issues, we are still going to be doing work in the units over time," Scott said. "We are identifying other kinds of repair-related issues that we want to take care of but in terms of the health and safety issues we will be able to move back those eight families and will continue to do other repairs as needed on an ongoing basis."

RELATED: DHA chief blames problems on years of underfunding

Electrical work will take months to complete. Some residents will move back, and then need to relocate again. There will be power off for 3-5 days when that work needs to happen.

The families have been living in hotels since DHA forced them out of the public housing facility because of appliances emitting excess carbon monoxide.

DHA hoped to allow families back in starting Friday morning, but some delays in final inspections have slowed the process.

DHA CEO Anthony Scott talks about moving families back to McDougald Terrace

One McDougald Terrace resident told ABC11 she found out Friday that her hotel reservation had been extended.

"I'm not moving back in today. I'm just ready to move back home; tired of motel hopping. That's all," she said.

Scott said they are still finalizing a timeline for when all residents can get back.

"Part of this was getting through the various inspection stages and figuring out what's needed, what's not and that work is "essentially complete" this week," Scott said. "Now in the next week will be able to schedule a more concrete move-in timeline."

Meanwhile, Durham CAN (Congregations, Associations, and Neighborhoods) held a news conference outside DHA headquarters criticizing the department.

"What has been happening in McDougald Terrace and the Housing Authority areas is wrong," said the Rev. Herbert Davis of Nehemiah Christian Center & Durham CAN.

The group called on DHA to prioritize its $95 million affordable housing bond and accelerate funding investments for maintenance and repair of all DHA properties.

"It is not right to neglect the concerns of the Durham Housing Authority residents while millions of dollars are flowing through our city," said Bishop Clarence Laney Jr. of Monument of Faith Church and Durham CAN.

Durham CAN holds presser to encourage DHA to step up


A day in the life of a Durham child affected by the public housing crisis

After leaving a violent relationship, she ended up at McDougald Terrace