By Jamesia Downer, AFRO Intern

Summer has just started, and the temperatures around the city are rising. In a West Baltimore community, Poe Homes, the residents lived in their homes for up to eight days without running water.

After more than a week of misery and dangerous health conditions water was restored to the beleaguered residents of the Poe Homes housing projects in West Baltimore.

According to the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC), water was fully restored the evening of June 25. Officials with the Housing Authority said the water outage was initially caused by a broken 20-inch valve, triggering alarming unsanitary living conditions. However, volunteers, city residents and organizations helped support Poe Homes residents.

“I want to especially thank our residents for their understanding as DPW continued to try to fix the problem,” said HABC Executive Director Janet Abrahams in a statement. “We responded to the emergency situation with a methodical overwhelming effort to ensure that our residents were as comfortable as possible given the circumstances.”

Still, questions remain about the “circumstances” that led to the residents of Poe to be without water for more than a week. And though water has been restored, Poe Homes residents say there’s still the issue of water pressure for the homes who are just now having their water services restored. 

The men and women of the community grew frustrated living without water. Poe Homes resident Fabian Moore spoke to the AFRO about how the community dealt with the loss of water during those 8 days. “[I] thank a lot of people for really coming out to help us, but we gotta want to do it our self before anyone else will want to do it,” said Moore.

Poe Homes resident Fabian Moore (Screengrab from video)

In the beginning stages of the break, there were no answers for the members of this community discussion went back and forth as to who was responsible for the valve break, whether it be the city or neighborhood. While the community was waiting for water restoration there was help from organizations around the Baltimore City and Baltimore County to this community and for that the residents are grateful.

Many organizations donated bottled water, some offered shower and laundry services throughout, and others donated food to residents. 

Construction on near underway near the site of the broken main valve. Porta Potties are still lined up on the side of the street for residents to use. Debris and empty water bottles riddle the streets, and a pipe runs down West Lexington St. from a fire hydrant located on the corner of Lexington and Poppleton. This fire hydrant is supplying the neighborhood water for now. So while residents can use their showers and sinks, there is still work to be done for full water restoration. 

Even though residents are less frustrated than at the beginning of the water loss crisis, there is needs to be a sense of urgency toward repairing the infrastructure of not only Poe Homes but in neighborhoods and communities across the city.

The AFRO will provide a full report on the water outage at Poe Homes next week.

Baltimore Editor Sean Yoes contributed to this story.