McDougald Terrace Relocation Recap

On Friday, May 1, 2020, the final household from McDougald Terrace returned home after being temporarily relocated due to elevated levels of carbon monoxide found at the property. Upon this significant milestone we want to recap what has taken place at McDougald Terrace, including the upgrades and inspections that were made and conducted to ensure that all homes at McDougald Terrace were safe to return to.
 
Relocation:
  • On January 3, 2020, Durham Housing Authority (DHA) evacuated residents from their homes at McDougald Terrace due to concerns of elevated carbon monoxide levels. While the evacuations were not mandatory, we highly encouraged households who had any desire to temporarily relocate to do so. On that day, 325 families lived at McDougald Terrace. 
  • Throughout the past four months, nearly every household temporarily relocated to 16 various hotels throughout Durham County paid for by DHA. Residents who did not voluntarily evacuate during the initial push, were provided hotel arrangements for the time period their homes were being serviced. Approximately $1.8 million was spent on discounted rates for these accommodations.
  • In total, 296 residents have returned to McDougald Terrace and 29 were transferred to other DHA operated properties.
  • During the entirety of residents being relocated, DHA ensured that households were provided stipends to cover food and incidentals to account for changes in expenses during the relocation. In total, over $2 million was paid out to residents directly through these stipends.
Inspections and upgrades
  • Beginning on January 7, DHA contracted with a licensed vendor to conduct carbon monoxide inspections of all appliances (heaters, water heaters and stoves) in the 346 McDougald Terrace apartments (including vacant units).
  • Following the inspections at McDougald Terrace, contractors inspected all gas appliances at Oxford Manor, Hoover Road, Club Boulevard, Edgemont-Elms and Laurel Oaks, replacing all stoves that registered elevated carbon monoxide levels.
  • The following week, DHA contracted with a licensed vendor to conduct mold inspections across the 346 McDougald Terrace units.
  • Once inspections were complete at McDougald Terrace, DHA worked with various contractors to begin upgrades across five key disciplines: mechanical, electric, plumbing, environmental, and exterminations.
  • In total, 218 new electric stoves were installed, 345 furnaces and 35 water heaters were replaced, and an additional 110 gas stoves were replaced prior to electrical upgrade across all the McDougald Terrace property. Additional work to upgrade the remaining gas stoves will continue once social distancing restrictions allow.
  • In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, DHA has temporarily updated its maintenance guidelines to only include emergency maintenance at this time. There are still maintenance requests to complete at McDougald Terrace, and while the COVID-19 outbreak has altered our timeline for completing these requests, we are determined to complete each of them once it is safe for our residents. While we recognize this means some additional delay in completing non-emergency maintenance for our McDougald Terrace residents, we prioritized working to return them home from hotels and are attempting to avoid anything that would increase risk of transmission.
We’ll be sending additional communication to the families at McDougald Terrace about the progress of work and planning for ways that we can continue our conversation with residents while maintaining social distancing. Prior to the pandemic, we had planned to have additional community meetings and will have to find alternative arrangements. The total costs are expected to reach at least $9 million overall. We are still determining
the final costs of all these upgrades and maintenance, in addition to the relocation efforts in total. In addition to DHA reserves and capital funds, we are seeking funding from HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) to cover the costs associated with this emergency. We are thankful for the City of Durham’s contribution of $1.4 million towards the cost of electrical upgrades that will allow a conversion to electric stoves.
Finally, we thank our residents for their patience, steadfastness and strength through a difficult situation. As we continue to deal with this pandemic within our community, we hope that our residents are staying safe and that we can all get through this together.
 
Anthony Scott
Durham Housing Authority CEO

Posted on Monday, May 4, 2020

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