NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - The frustrations in a town hall meeting in Newport News Mondaynight on defective Chinese drywall were evident as soon as leadersopened the floor for questions.
Many of those present have moved from their homes. Amanda Fowleasked a Consumer Product Safety Commission representative, "What isyour purpose? How can you help us?"
Jay Howell, with the CPSC Office of Compliance, answered byexplaining the agency determines if products are safe, but does not"have the power to distribute money."
Howell went over the steps the CPSC has taken over the last yearto test drywall and draft remediation guidelines.
But there was little new information for homeowners.
"Everything you showed me today, I could have told you" saidDeborah Morgan. Applause filled the room.
Homeowner Matt Nations said, "I'm 30 years and I'm afraid todrink the water in my house for fear that it's somewhere correlatedto Chinese drywall."
But there were no answers about the safety of water runningthrough pipes. There were no answers about how to preventforeclosure while the courts and governments find money to fixcorrosion, odors, and unexplained health problems associated withthe drywall.
When someone mentioned mortgage forbearances, a woman stood upand replied, "I know all about that. I called [my bank], my homegoes to foreclosure tomorrow."
There were no representatives from the Health Department or theCenters for Disease Control in the meeting. Del. Glenn Oder(R-Newport News) who co-hosted the event said he would reach out tothose agencies for future meetings.
However, a CPSC representative, Christopher Day explained he hasbeen in 40 to 50 homes and experienced some of what the homeownersdescribe.
"I can definitely detect a difference in breathing. I don'tthink anyone, any of the commission staff that's been in thesehouses argue that's it's an irritant.
The issue is building our scientific case and havingpeer-reviewed scientific evidence of what it's causing," Dayexplained.
While people in 37 states report having defective drywall, allhomes impacted in Virginia have drywall from the same Chinesegovernment-owned manufacturer.
Fowle asked: "With all of these visits to China, all of thesemeetings, what is China saying?"
Howell replied: "There is ongoing dialog, but to be perfectlyfrank, they are noncommittal."
Local elected leaders say they are committed to seeing the U. S.government take greater action.
Newport News Council woman Madeline McMillan askedRepresentative Rob Wittman to take her question back to Washington,where aid is being sent to help the international community.
"Ask who there has the moral conscious to step in and help ourown citizens?" McMillan said.
Her comments were followed by another round off applause asdozens of those in attendance rose to their feet.
Congressman Rob Wittman (R-Williamsburg) was a co-host for themeeting. He told the crowd he only has one vote in the 435-memberHouse of Representatives. Wittman explained that he has introducedlegislation to give homeowners a little more than $30,000 in taxbreaks each year for three years to help with remediation andrelocation costs. The bill is currently with the House Ways andMeans Committee.
And a new group of concerned citizens went to the drywallmeeting.
Renters who signed leases in homes and have recently discoveredthe problem drywall, spoke up during a question and answer period.They like homeowners said they need answers about how to get out ofthe situation without ruining their credit.
Oder and Virginia housing officials said they are currentlyworking to adopt state standards and procedures when it comes todrywall, because the Commonwealth's existing regulations do notaddress the problems discovered in the last year.
A Newport News man is charged for allegedly sexually assaulting a young girl.
Police say a 19-year-old was shot Thursday evening in Newport News.
Three separate crashes on Interstate 664 occurred at the same time Thursday morning, causing headaches for motorists.