PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The NAACP’s Portsmouth chapter met with management of London Oaks Apartments Monday night over a fence they built around the complex over the last month.
Some tenants called 10 On Your Side for help in stopping the fence from being built in early September.
Management did not respond to our calls and emails for comment asking why crews were building the fence even though people didn’t want it.
Tenants said the fence made them feel like “caged animals” and “prisoners in their own homes,” during interviews with 10 On Your Side.
“Right now we’re upset because we feel like our voices don’t matter,” said resident Sonja Williams.
NAACP led the conversation, where residents spoke with apartment management about the fence and overall conditions at the apartment complex.
10 On Your Side was not allowed on the property where the meeting was held, as police told us apartment officials didn’t want media there.
“The disappointment was there was no real answers tonight. I would have had my staff come in and say let me get your concern and then I would have had a strategic plan with the residents” said NAACP Portsmouth President James Boyd.
Boyd says the regional director of TRG, who manages London Oaks, made her stand clear in the meeting — the fence isn’t going anywhere.
“She made this statement, the fence is not going down. She had already made her stance before we got to any kind of discussion,” he explained.
Boyd used Facebook Live so people who couldn’t attend could still view pieces of the discussion.
“We don’t want people on the property that are trespassing, that are committing crimes, that are shooting guns, that are shooting out windows, that are shooting residents. We don’t want that,” the regional director stated.
In the video, the regional director said the money for the fence was pulled from a reserve fund and that they built the fence to keep residents safer, but people who live here say now they have even more safety concerns.
“From fire to emergency to police officers, they aren’t able to get to residents readily because these gates are a physical barrier,” Boyd said.
One woman says the bus stop was moved to a gate entrance, so now children are getting picked up on a busier street.
“My daughter is an 8th grader at Churchland Middle. This is her bus stop, right here. This is High Street you’ve got traffic coming in and out of here, that is a tragic accident waiting to happen,” she explained.
Boyd says the tenants are now coming together to effectively get their concerns resolved.
Residents tell 10 On Your Side the fence is just the beginning, they’ve dealt with broken AC units and mold.
Boyd says he will not stop pushing, even if that means getting city officials involved.