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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Love Thy Neighbor

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).


Shaw Rez said...

Ironically, it should be noted that Pastor Smith was quoted by the Washington Post earlier this year as saying that his plan for the pictured property (1600 8th Street) is to turn it into luxury rental apartments. The proceeds of these luxury rentals would somehow finance the church's plan for senior housing on 9th Street.

si said...

did they have a permit?

Shaw Rez said...

Si - Not sure--I know permits were pulled for work on at least some of Shiloh's condemned properties. I'm not sure about the 8th Street properties specifically.

I witnessed contractors working on the 8th Street properties on Sunday, which I would think constitutes illegal construction. I don't know the ins and outs of the code, though, so maybe they're fine doing the type work what they did on Sundays.

jescowa said...

More disturbing: This newsletter notes that the Take Down the Signs campaign has raised $219,065. I'm sure the most Christian use of those resources was to repair a bunch of vacant properties so they could maintain their stranglehold on community progress. Certainly more important than housing the homeless, feeding the hungry or healing the sick.

Anonymous said...

no one is working today!!! yeah! must have gotten a 'stop work' order.

Anonymous said...

Alex and Kevin will be on the panel.