Hearing on public housing scheduled

Residents' complaints about living conditions to be focus of meeting

April 02, 2000|By Amy Oakes | Amy Oakes,SUN STAFF

The Annapolis Human Relations Commission will hold a public hearing this week on residents' concerns about living conditions at the city's 10 public housing complexes.

The hearing, scheduled for 6: 30 p.m. Thursday at Asbury United Methodist Church, 87 West St., is part of recent efforts by residents and community activists to improve public housing conditions.

"The commission intends to be responsive to the community," said Michael J. Keller, commission chairman. "We will provide a forum for people to express their views."

The Annapolis city council has scheduled a work session with representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Housing Authority for the City of Annapolis for 6 p.m. April 26 to address similar issues.

The Human Relations Commission, composed of 15 city-appointed volunteers, is an advisory board to the council, and will forward its findings to the mayor and aldermen.

The commission holds hearings on such issues as human relations, discrimination and residents' treatment. The most recent hearing was held in February, to address a bill targeting aggressive panhandling.

The commission received a request from the College Creek Terrace/Obery Court Tenant Council to hold the public hearing on living conditions. Last month, Robert Eades, tenant council vice president, led the mayor and several aldermen on a tour of the development -- one of the oldest in the nation.

The officials were so disgusted by the conditions of some apartments that they introduced a resolution to give the city the power to conduct inspections in public housing developments and charge the cost to the Housing Authority.

The resolution -- a duplicate of one that failed three years ago -- is scheduled to be discussed at the council's work session this month.

Alderman Sheila M. Tolliver said the council has several issues to address, such as who would pay for repairs, whether the Housing Authority would be required to do its inspections and where people would go if city inspectors found a house uninhabitable.

"We need to hear from the Housing Authority and how they are allocating funds," Tolliver said.

Eades said he plans to attend, although public comment will not be taken. He said he wants quicker action.

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