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ONE VOICE FROM PUBLIC HOUSING HEARD LOUD AND CLEAR

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In a public hearing called by the Senate Committee on Housing, Parks and Recreation held Tuesday, Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole remarked that he thought "the place would be full up."
What Cole thought the chambers would be full of was unhappy public housing tenants. This is because of "all the complaints I get in my office," Cole said.
One tenant, however, perhaps making up for a larger number, made her voice heard.
Marietta Fleming of Oswald Harris Court graphically stated her problems before the committee that was meeting to discuss VIHA policy and the relocation of the Donoe Housing Community.
"I have been a resident of OHC since before Hurricane Hugo," Fleming said. "The building manager, Dale Donovan, said it should have been condemned before Marilyn," she continued. "The electricity is terrible."
She said that the wiring is very dangerous, with sockets hanging out of the walls. The walls themselves are cracked, with water pouring through when it rains. She said she had to tie her front and back doors with rope to keep them closed after they came off their hinges.
"And," she said, "the inspectors came after Marilyn and said they couldn't do anything because it wasn't 'storm damage.'"
On top of this, her appliances short out and have to be replaced because of the faulty and dangerous wiring.
She also mentioned her neighbor, who has a termite infestation that makes it almost impossible for her to live there, but she, too, has little choice. Fleming said that she works for the government and is paying tuition for her son at the University of the Virgin Islands, and that her rent is $543 for a two-bedroom. She said when she finally gets through to VIHA, they say they will send an inspector over and she then has to wait home all day for him — taking a day from work, for which she is not paid –- and the inspections come to naught.
Francois said that he and Al Simmonds, his assistant director, would personally go see Fleming's unit.

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