[Hpn] DC housing takeover
Thu, 23 Nov 2000 22:10:02 -0500
> Hey all-
> Today, Homes Not Jails took over a vacant HUD-owned building at 1959 H St.
> NE and is still there making repairs and readying the house for a homeless
> family to move in. The family holds a HUD-issued Section 8 housing voucher.
> In three days the time allotted for them to find a landlord that will
> accept that voucher runs out.
> Throughout the day the group also helped repair a nearby neighbor's public
> housing unit. She asked HNJ for help because her requests to the city for
> repairs have been ignored.
> Surprisingly, cops have not approached the building to ask questions.
> Neighbors have been incredibly supportive. According to one neighbor, the
> building was empty and abandoned for at least twenty years.
> The mother of the family that is participating in the takeover with HNJ, has
> been either homeless or living in unstable temporary shelter for ten years.
> Though she holds a Section 8 certificate, she has had a very difficult time
> finding a landlord that will accept it. When she has found a landlord
> willing to accept a voucher, she hasn't met there income requirements or had
> the money to pay security deposits.
> HUD's Section 8 program is failing many people throughout the city.
> Thousands of families spend years on waiting lists for the vouchers. If
> they do receive a voucher, they are then hard-pressed to find any landlord
> that will accept it within the sixty-day time period that they are granted
> to look for a home. Landlords often ask up to $1,000 up front for a
> security deposit, despite the dire need driving most of the tenants to use
> the Section 8 program.
> Meanwhile, according to a HUD source, there are close to six hundred
> HUD-owned properties in DC. If an FHA mortgage loan property is foreclosed
> on, HUD takes the property and can sell it at market rate. One does not
> have to be low-income to buy a HUD-owned property. Yet A HUD Section 8
> housing voucher is an acknowledgement that the holder is in need of low- or
> no-income housing. Why can't HUD give a family in need a home, instead of
> sending them on a wild goose chase with a voucher?
> The search time for the mother's Section 8 housing voucher runs out on Nov.
> 26th. Her family's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits
> are due to run out at the end of the year. The "welfare to work program"
> she is part of, AME job training, was sending her to classes that had no
> instructors. When she had a job as a home health provider at $6.00 an hour,
> she was kept away from home for days at a time for a wage that barely met
> her family's needs, with no child care for her two-year-old during those odd
> hours. The stress this created caused a family emergency that forced her to
> quit her job so that she could attend to her family needs. The temporary
> housing program she is in, Marshall Heights, reapeatedly ignores or is
> extremely slow to act on her requests to repair unhealthy leaks and rodent
> problems in her house, even though her youngest son has asthma. Her stay
> in temporary shelter ends in March. She hopes to finally have a permanent
> home that she can afford. We are pushing for HUD to turn the building over
> to her. HNJ is committed to working together to bring the house completely
> up to code. She and other HNJ folks will only leave the building if dragged
> What you can do to help:
> 1. Come on out! Stick around. Eat meals with us. Show your support for
> housing justice by holding a placard, playing football, raking some leaves,
> picking up trash, painting a wall, playing with the two-year old, or just
> dancing to the music.
> 2. Call HUD at 202-275-9206 or 202-275-9200 and demand that they transfer
> ownership of the house at 1959 H St. NE to Nadine and her children and allow
> them to make it their first permanent home.
> 3. Call Council Member Sharon Ambrose at 202-724-8072 and Mayor Williams
> 202-727-2980 and demand that they support Homes Not Jails' cause and put
> pressure on HUD to turn the building over to the homeless family.
> 4. Bring donations. We need flashlights, batteries, a coleman stove,
> BLANKETS, mattresses, spring water, hot beverages, food, toilet paper,
> tools, money for building supplies, cups, buckets, and good energy.
> 5. Know any good electricians/plumbers? Please send them our way.
> Thank you!
> To reach Homes Not Jails: 202-297-4430, or email@example.com
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