For decades, Shiloh Baptist Church has maintained a portfolio of vacant properties in the Shaw neighborhood. These properties cause numerous problems for immediate neighbors as well as the surrounding area, including providing havens for crime and vermin, depriving the neighborhood of housing opportunities (affordable or market rate), and generally blighting Shaw.
As you may recall, many of Shiloh’s vacant properties were condemned earlier this year due to their poor condition from years of neglect. Shiloh was thereby forced to make certain repairs, but unfortunately was not forced to sell or make beneficial use of the properties. Accordingly, it is likely that Shaw will continue to be blighted at Shiloh’s hand and the area will be denied housing opportunities these properties could afford.
A neighbor sent me the following pictures of contractors working on Shiloh’s vacant properties on 8th Street yesterday.
The contractors are apparently ripping out a lot of the interior of the properties and then dumping debris out windows into dumpsters below. A lot of dust is made airborne by this process as the debris slides into the dumpster. The neighbor expresses very real concern that this dust is toxic given the age of the properties and the potential for the presence of asbestos or lead paint. Unfortunately the contractor was non responsive to the concern when it was expressed. A call was placed to 311, but I've yet to hear if any SWO or fine was issued.
On a related note, this Saturday, October 13, 2007, Shiloh is hosting a forum called “Gentrification: What You Need to Know” from 1:00-4:00 pm in the Life Center (check out the announcement on page 4 here).