City Desk

This Is What a Group House Looks Like

Look at it. Go ahead and stare. This is what a District group house looks like. This is the scene from the Jan. 26th police shooting death of Osman Abdullahi. He had been suffering from schizophrenia. He had been living at this group home, located at 830 7th St. NE, since Nov. 1.

The Department of Mental Health has repeatedly stressed that this was not technically a group home. It was not one of their own. It had not been licensed as one. It didn't get a handy acronym that I won't even bother explaining. It didn't have the proper paperwork. But it was a group home. Many of its tenants were mentally ill. [All five I talked to or researched had been in the system]. All were unsupervised. This house had a history, a backstory. Abdullahi had a story, too. We first wrote about the incident later that night. I get to expand on my reporting for this week's cover.

While DMH gets to breathe a sigh of relief that this wasn't one of their own homes, its people were still inside. Its people were living without food, without heat, without meds, without supervision. So take a look at where some D.C. residents were living. Who's going to prevent this from happening again? Who's going to make sure there's someone competent watching over our most vulnerable? While DMH is investigating the house, the big question is: Did any of their people ever do a site visit, ever actually come to the house?

More pictures after the jump.

The kitchen sink as of January 27.

The freezer.

The cupboards.

I will be posting more pictures of 830 7th St. NE throughout the week.

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  • Jamie

    Looks a lot like my first group house in Adams Morgan, actually, except cleaner.

  • sara.h

    wow Jamie, i'm shocked by your complete lack of sensitivity. in case you missed it, that first picture is where the man's blood pooled and the inside of his head was splattered on the walls.

  • Jamie

    I was being completely serious.

  • eli

    think you might be confusing "voluntary adult mental health consumer" with "child ward of CFSA." i agree it's a terrible place to live, but you should study up on the roles and responsibilities of mental health providers and the rights of consumers before you start slinging mud.

  • Jason Cherkis

    Eli: I'm well aware of your argument. And it's an offensive one. Sure the adult mental health consumer "volunteers" to live in a place like 830 7th Street NE.And there are different regs that city officials follow.

    But these residents shouldn't have to live in a place like 830 7th Street NE. They should have case managers and services that check in on them and make sure that they aren't living in a place like 830 7th Street NE.

    When I went there and interviewed residents there immediate response to my presence was to list all of the things that were messed up about their living condition. It didn't sound to me like they were happy living there.

    I'm sure if they were given options or had a case manager that gave them options, that visited them, etc., they would have chosen not to live in a house without heat and food.

    Well, anyway, my full story is out tomorrow.

  • Fred

    Isn't the whole department going to be (cut and) privatized?