Water leaks latest concern at Durham's McDougald Terrace public housing complex

Anthony Wilson Image
Monday, September 21, 2020
Water leaks latest concern at Durham's McDougald Terrace public housing complex
Water leaks latest concern at Durham's McDougald Terrace public housing complex

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A woman who lives with her children at Durham's McDougald Terrace public housing community contacted ABC11 about a persistent problem. It surfaced, she said, in May during the time when the Durham Housing Authority relocated hundreds of tenants to hotels while crews repaired natural gas leaks that sickened some residents.

Alicia Campbell told ABC11 in May about water leaks that she said contributed to fungus growth inside her home. At the time, ABC11 saw workers enter the home to make repairs. However, she said, "They fixed the mushroom problem but they didn't fix the piping up under the tub. Because every time I turn on my shower, looks like the whole tub is coming out in my cabinets downstairs. I think it's because they didn't do it right. They just patched it up, and months later this is happening."

Though ABC11's crew did not enter the apartment, she shared a cellphone video that does show water splashing in an apparent kitchen area.

"They fixed the bathroom flooring and everything. But it seems like everything water gets on the floor, it just comes through my cabinet," Campbell said.

ABC11 reached out to DHA with several questions about public housing conditions in Durham:

  • *How many maintenance requests has DHA received during the last six to nine months?
  • *How many of those requests are completed or resolved?
  • *What's the effect of increased repair, move out, hotel and other costs related to the gas leak and other problems on the DHA budget?

Anthony Scott, CEO of the Durham Housing Authority texted this reply to our request Monday morning: "We do not have that information at this time."

The tenant said she's frustrated by the pace of DHA's response.

"I pay my rent on time, I don't complain about a lot of stuff, only when there's something really wrong in my apartment," Campbell said. "I think it's really messed up."

She said because she makes $12 an hour transporting patients at the VA Hospital, moving out is not an option.

"In the middle of this pandemic it would be really hard," Campbell said. "Because you have to think about how much for a three-bedroom apartment, you've got to have first month's rent and everything like that."

ABC11 will keep digging for answers to those questions. When the DHA responds, you'll see them online.

For now, while waiting for the agency to make those repairs, "I do have two children in my house, and I just fear for their safety," Campbell said.

WATCH: ABC11's investigative special on the state of public housing in Durham