RICHMOND, Va. - A woman’s emotional plea to the Richmond City Council this week has motivated others to ask what can be done to help people living in deteriorating, infested apartments in Richmond’s public housing.
On Monday, Sharanda Taylor told the council she believes her living conditions are taking a toll on her mental and physical health. She shared very emotional and deeply personal information with city council members during the public comment period, hoping to remind the city of how much work is left to do.
She said there was no heat in her RRHA apartment and her home was once overrun and infested with mice, according to WTVR.
“I was housed like an animal and left in the apartment for three months knowing that I had an infestation,” she said.
The mom told the council conditions were so bad, she and her children had to relocate to a hotel. Taylor said she believes a miscarriage she had was tied to the stress caused by the difficult living conditions she and her children faced.
Then, a graphic show and tell took council members by surprise.
Taylor held up a plastic container and addressed the council.
“Because I had a miscarriage, this is a baby, my embryo that I can no longer carry," Taylor said through tears. "I sit here watching people hold their babies in the back while I hold mine in a cup."
Her plea for help was interrupted by officers who attempted to remove her. Council members came to her defense and told officers they wanted to allow Taylor to continue speaking. Council member and pastor Mike Jones was moved by the mom’s passionate plea. He said she exemplified courage and bravery when she shared her emotional story.
Jones said her story is a gut-wrenching reminder of the work the city has yet to do.
“It’s going to take a comprehensive strategy and something that's actionable, something that people are willing to own," he said. "Our office of community wealth building is a key piece to getting individuals trained and job ready. It’s going to take the larger community."
A top RRHA official said it is important to note they have responded to all of her previous complaints about mice and heat. He confirmed they moved her to a hotel and then to another RRHA apartment. Since the city council meeting, the agency has been trying to reconnect with Taylor to see if there’s any other way that they can assist her.