The Department of Public Works said it had restored water to the Poe Homes Saturday evening after residents went more than five days without.
DPW spokesman Jeffrey Raymond said water pressure was low in some units and that it would take time for the water to travel through the pipes.
“It’s a trickle,” said Leslie Ware, president of the tenant council, on Saturday night.
It would not be enough to flush a toilet, he said. Water pressure was even lower on second floor units he had visited.
City workers have grappled with how to repair a cascading series of failures after a Monday water main break that’s caused disruption and difficulties for those living in the West Baltimore public housing complex.
Resident Shawna Hudnall said she’d been posting this week about the water outage on Facebook — how she and her three small children struggled to cope with daily life with no flushing toilets and no working faucets to wash bodies, clothes and dishes.
“It kinda sucks,” Hudnall said.
The situation has prompted an outpouring of help from different groups, including donations of food and water. Neighboring University of Maryland opened up their dorm bathrooms for residents to take showers, and volunteers grilled hot dogs and passed out chips and sandwiches to residents unable to cook meals in their kitchens.
“After a while it becomes inhumane,” said Sonia Eaddy, president of the Poppleton community association, as she and other volunteers struggled Saturday to make sure all the residents of Poe Homes’ 300 units received bottles of water and other supplies.
City Council President Brandon Scott and other council members came by to check on residents and help unload cases of water.
The Housing Authority of Baltimore City posted a video Saturday afternoon of Neea Reid, Poe Tenant Council vice president, saying residents weren’t “exactly sure what’s going on.” She advised tenants to spend the weekend elsewhere, if they’re able.
“If you want to stay home, we’re going to try to make sure you’re good, make sure you have food, make sure you have water to flush your toilets,” she said in the video.
#PoeHomes Residents if an emergency comes up please call HABC’s dedicated line at 410-669-2290. Poe Tenant Council VP Neea Reid shares info about water distribution onsite. Locations listed below: -819 Saratoga Street #14 -Multry Auditorium at 206 Freemont -810 West Lexington pic.twitter.com/YSCt4GOCLi
Several residents suggested they should be offered hotel rooms if the water is not restored.
Ingrid Antonio, a spokeswoman for the housing authority, said there were no immediate plans to do so but that the agency “will consider alternate plans.”
The city’s housing authority and DPW are providing bottled water to Poe Homes residents, as is the Community Engagement Center of the University of Maryland, Baltimore. The nearby Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum is collecting wet wipes, hand sanitizer and water jugs for tenants.
The water outage at Poe Homes is completely unacceptable. I visited with residents and members of my senior staff are...
The city also is arranging for portable toilets to be stationed at Lexington and Saratoga streets, according to a Facebook post from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. He said portable showers and a portable laundry facility are available on Poppleton Street.
Young called the water outage “completely unacceptable.”
The housing authority has established a 24-hour emergency number for residents at 410-669-2290, Young wrote.