My experience in Hacienda has been like no other. I finally have my voucher to move out, and I don’t plan on staying in Richmond.
I’ve been in Hacienda for almost six years. I live in the housing for disabled people, and I’ve never seen such mismanagement in my life. People are allowed to come into this gated community without being checked by security. They’ve knocked on my door trying to get into my unit, and I even had to get a restraining order against one man. None of my complaints to the management have been answered, and I’m left feeling like they don’t care about us.
All the while, my fellow tenants and I have been trying to get fair treatment and reasonable accommodation. Last year I used to attend all of the meetings when the City said they were moving us out. We had that big meeting at City Hall and tried to figure out what was happening. But for a long time nothing did happen. The building we live in was said to be uninhabitable over a year ago, and they still make us pay rent and kick people out who can’t pay it.
Because I’m disabled, I don’t have the means to do much. Even before these issues got attention I was trying to get a voucher to move out because of the conditions here. But only now with the publicity on the issue is any of this possible.
Still, it has been difficult for me to look for new places to move. A lot of my neighbors are disabled like me, and that makes it a challenge for us to look at other places to live. The Richmond Housing Authority hasn’t provided us any transportation to help with this. I’m glad that I at least have a friend to help me.
In six months, I’m going to be out of here. I’m tired of toilets being backed up, utilities not working, people breaking past the gate, and all of the other trouble around the building. We’ve all had a hard time, but I’m a fighter. I’m from Berkeley. It’s in my blood to protest. I’m working with lawyers and talking to some neighbors. I’m ready for something better, because we all deserve it.
By: Teresa Cooley, resident at Hacienda
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