SRHA, SPD discuss collaboration at Public Safety meeting

Published 9:00 am Thursday, April 4, 2024

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The Suffolk Public Safety Committee returned for its third meeting of 2024 to discuss various safety updates, including a partnership with the Suffolk Redevelopment Housing Authority.

During their Wednesday, March 27 meeting at City Hall, Housing Director Keva Newsome and Administration Director Sherry Ann Brown of the Suffolk Redevelopment Housing Authority visited to discuss their goal of addressing crime within public housing and partnering with the Suffolk Police Department. SPD Interim Chief James Buie discussed the Suffolk Police Department’s work with SRHA in the past.

“Years ago … We had a great partnership with the [Suffolk] Redevelopment Housing Authority. We work together for different initiatives in public housing to bring crime down, doing things like giveaways. We would do school giveaways at the beginning of the school year … We’d do cleanups, going out to the parks and public housing, picking up trash and cleaning up glass and painting over any graffiti that may have been put out there at that time,” Buie said. “ … I don’t want to say [we] got away from it, but … we got idle and we didn’t do as much as we should have been doing out there as a police department, and we want to rekindle that spirit.”

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Newsome, who said she’s been with SRHA for “a few years,” noted that she recently started working directly with public housing. Reflecting on her phone conversations with Buie, she talked about their goals of bringing SRHA back to earlier days, but notes the lack of funding. 

“We went all the way back to the days of Clarissa McAdoo … She’s retired from the agency after 25 years of service. However, during that time when we had a lot of the collaboration, we had grant money. So the money was plentiful at that time and we were able to do more things. As it stands right now, even after the drug elimination grant, we were able to tap into some Capital Improvement Funds. Well, things have pretty much kind of dried up now.”

Newsome expressed the desire for safety in their neighborhoods but notes that SRHA has to pay out of pocket for their operating expenses to pay for additional police patrol at their property. Newsome also noted further plans for discussions with SPD. 

“No doubt, we want our families to be able to live in safe housing, but again, it’s going to take the collaboration of both parties,” Newsome said.