Housing Complex

More Fireworks Ahead of Next Barry Farm Meeting

Police intervened at the last contentious meeting over the fate of Barry Farm.

Two weeks ago, the D.C. Housing Authority attempted to hold a meeting to allow would-be redevelopers of the Barry Farm public housing complex near Anacostia to present their proposals to residents. No such luck. Just as the first developer began speaking, a group of protesters led by the group Empower DC shouted him down with chants, and the meeting had to be called off.

Now the Housing Authority has rescheduled the meeting for next week. And already the venom is starting to fly.

Yesterday afternoon, Empower DC sent out a press release with the headline "City Seeks to Keep Empower DC Out of Barry Farm Demolition 'Developer's Meeting.'" In the release, Empower complains that the new meeting will be "residents only," which the organization sees as an effort to shut it out of the conversation after some Empower members who were not Barry Farm residents led the protests at the last meeting.

"The city arrogantly claimed those residents were not acting on their own accord, but were directed by Empower DC," the release states. "Empower DC is a membership based organization that supports the self-advocacy and organized power of communities like Barry Farm. Residents of Barry Farm are members of the organization."

Housing Authority spokesman Rick White responded with an equally sharp email to members of the media, to which he attached the Housing Authority's notice of the meeting to residents and wrote, "Any reader will see that Empower DC’s release is thinly-veiled misinformation created to promote chaos and confusion."

The Empower release also accuses the Housing Authority of giving residents short notice, mistakenly claiming that the meeting was going to be last night. In fact, the meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday, as Empower D.C.'s Parisa Norouzi notes in a more conciliatory follow-up email, in which she gave "kudos to DCHA for finally giving proper notice."

But don't count on a conciliatory meeting, if the last one was any indication.

  • Typical DC BS

    Bulldoze it and start over. This whole rent control / public housing nonsense needs to be abolished. All these socialistic policies do is create long-term dependency (at astronomical costs to taxpayers) among a very small group of citizens, while appeasing liberal idiot's consciences.

  • Tim Oliphant

    How about having the police on hand to eject people that shout down others? Shouting down is not free speech --it is raw thuggery and should not be tolerated.

    Empower DC is a bully and should be stood up to then thrown out on its ear.

  • Angelina

    How about collecting market rates on million dollar properties sold to developers for $1.00 - $100? Which you folks have forgotten, and leave rent-control alone...people need it, especially the elderly!!

  • Angelina

    Here's a list of tax-exempt properties, the District could be generating if they were taxable.

    Federal government: 2,809 properties valued at $45 billion

    Foreign government: 603 properties valued at $2.8 billion

    D.C. government: 2,733 properties valued at $12 billion

    Religious organizations: 1,154 properties valued at $3.5 billion

    Educational organizations: 474 properties valued at $5.7 billion

    Charitable organizations: 492 properties valued at $976.5 million

    Hospitals: 13 exempt nonprofit hospitals valued at $714.2 million

    Cemeteries: 22 exempt cemeteries valued at $305 million

    Low-income properties: 5,466 low-income residential properties valued at $1.75 billion

  • Typical DC BS

    @Angelina: These same tax-exempt policies are followed in every city in the USA. DC's problem isn't money - it's problem is the way the elected morons in DC manage enrich their cronies and themselves.

  • http://www.eastbankdc.org East Bank DC

    The tax revenue lost on the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction is greater than the entire HUD budget (public housing, Site Based Section 8, etc.). Residents are simply seeking equitable treatment in US policy. Displacing low income persons will be more costly in the long run.

  • James

    Is Barry Farm named for you-know-who, or did the name pre-date the glorious reign of the former Mayor-for-Life?

  • ShawGuy

    I just don't get this. An apartment in a small building I lived in a few years ago was getting redeveloped. The landlord offered us the chance to buy the building if we wanted to, we couldn't afford to do so, and he gave us ample notice (I think it was six months or so) to find a new place to live before he demolished the building and built a bigger building in that spot. He even let me overstay the deadline for a week or so because the new place I wanted to move to (the only place I could find that was as cheap as the apartment I was losing) wasn't vacant yet on the deadline.

    But, it was a pretty simple scenario - you rent your home, you do not own it. The person who owns it wishes to do something different. They offer to let you buy it at a fair market price. You cannot afford (or can afford and simply do not want) to do so. So you move, and the owner gets to do what they like.

    That's the primary reason to BUY instead of RENT. It's a sad, unfortunate reality in our world, but one we must stop sugar coating - if you are poor and cannot afford to buy property, you are subject to the whims and desires of someone richer than you who COULD afford to buy that property and as the owner, can do whatever they like. This is applicable to poor people of any and every demographic. My landlord would have laughed, rightfully so, right in my face if I'd said I wanted him to meet with the tenants to discuss the redevelopment of the property to be sure it was in our best interest. He did not (and should not) care about our interests in that project - we were just renters, not owners.

    So why are we going to these public housing facilities and saying "let's all sit in a circle and sing kumbaya and talk about our plan to redevelop a property that you, the tenants, have destroyed so that we can then give it back to you in sparkly new condition!"? I have never seen this city or any other invest good money to tear down a public housing facility that's in excellent (or even just "good" shape) because it's fun. You tear them down because they are in horrible shape and they are havens for crime and you need to fix what has happened there.

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