In a piece for Greater Greater Washington today, John Muller writes about the current state of forgotten, empty buildings in inner Anacostia, dubbed “Abandominiums,” where the formerly homeless find shelter and drug dealers and prostitutes conduct business. The most the local police force does, according to Muller’s investigation, is occasionally board up the doors and windows.
As you might imagine, Muller’s descriptions of living conditions are grim (“You don’t have to worry about rats, because there’s no food.”) but perhaps even worse is the neglect that led to these vacancies: several of the buildings Muller highlighted are part of HUD’s Home Investment Partnership Program, which funded half-started projects that the government has left to languish for decades. Muller references an expose published in The Washington Post last year regarding the program.
From the Post:
Nationwide, nearly 700 projects awarded $400 million have been idling for years. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the nation’s housing fund, has largely looked the other way: It does not track the pace of construction and often fails to spot defunct deals, instead trusting local agencies to police projects.
Anacostia has been attracting a lot of attention recently when it comes to housing; the ribbon cutting of the HOPE VI-funded Sheridan Station was attended by some of DC’s biggest dignitaries, including Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Vincent Gray and Councilmember Marion Barry. But Sheridan Station and other new developments east of the river have run into roadblocks caused by low appraisals and demand. The city and developers have a few problems to sort out before they can put their attention towards the Abandominiums.
According to GGW, Muller is currently working on a book called “The Lion of Anacostia.”
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_forgotten_buildings_of_anacostia/5314
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