Somebody from Homes, Not Jails posted a hit and run thread that Tubadiva promptly locked. Here’s the upshot from this morning’s Post:
The neighbors are pissed. One was quoted, “If they’re so concerned with the homeless, why don’t they find them a home in their neighborhood or their parents’ neighborhood? Why us?”
Do these kids who seized the house plan to offer social services to help the homeless keep the place up, deal with addiction and other pathologies that made them homeless in the first place?
And why should hard-working people who take pride in their neighborhood have to put up with homeless junkies being planted next to them just because they’re working-class and black?
Would these liberal goofballs do this in Georgetown?
Well, I dunno if they would do it in Georgetown–I would hope so. However, having abandoned houses is generally a sign that a neighborhood has other problems anyway. When they put a commuter railroad in Baltimore that went past the suburbs, all these people said “oh, the scary black men from the city will ride it up here and rob our homes”–only without being explicit about it.
I sincerely hope that these activists actually do intend to help, in which case the neighbors’ complaints are paranoid. If they aren’t going to adress the causes, then there is a valid complaint. Do you have any more info on this–I’m curious?
Just out of curiosity, what evidence do you have that anyone who is homeless and would possibly benefit from this place are guaranteed to be “addicted,” afflicted with “pathologies that make them homeless in the first place,” and “junkies?”
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Lots of homeless are pretty much just normal bums (ok, not the right word, but you get my point) with a bit of bad luck. Baltimore has lots of homeless, and lots of abandoned houses. Would that somebody did the same for all of them.
If the owner can be found then he should be prosecuted under some kind of civil code. We have two Habitat for Humanity houses in our neighborhood. One that is finished and now occupied and another that is in the works. I just met the woman who moved in last night. She seems very nice and so do her children. She’s got her porch fixed up really cute. My son discovered her son yesterday and they were playing. She came up and introduced herself. We talked and agreed to call each other whenever the boys decide to play. The houses are not within shouting distance. Seems to me like we ended up with a pretty good neighbor. Better so than the rental properties that occupy my street. The inhabitants have no vested interest in keeping up the property and the owners could care less either. These kids may be going about this in the wrong way I don’t know. But at least they care enough to be going about something. Seems to me like the residents should be happy that something is being done to the building finally.
Easiest observation: Even if you go the Rush Limbaugh extremist view and take this at extreme value, that still leaves 15-35% of the homeless people to be “normal.” It would not be hard to screen for people such as this, and this certainly shows by itself that the observations you made above were knee-jerk reactions not based in an “all of them are like this” reality you seem to be positing.
Now, next observation: A ton of people who suffer from drug addictions, alcohol abuse or mental illness probably already live in that neighborhood. A ton of posters here fit into one “or a combination of all three.” If the people in the neighborhood really wanted to weed out those influences from their pristine little hovel, they would find out quickly that a mirror can be an ugly device.
Lest you think I am a bleeding heart Liberal, allow me to say that I would also be hesitant to have a place of this nature in my neighborhood. However, instead of complaining about it, I would offer my services and make suggestions as to how it would better help people while lessening any negatives that could happen.
Of course, it’s easier for some people to just scream “not in my neighborhood,” now isn’t it…
The people who are going to live in the house are a middle aged working class black couple, with no obvious signs of drug addiction or mental illness. The house has been abandoned for years; the first owner failed to pay property taxes, the gov’t siezed it and no one has been living there. Contrary to what Goboy and some of the neighbors think most of the people involved live in D.C. in middle income neighborhoods like Mt. Pleasant, Columbia heights, and Adams Morgan, etc.
One Question I have for Goboy: Why are you so threatened and angered by this action? How does it affect you personally? A bunch of people (not all of them kids, BTW) help a homeless couple move into an abandoned house by cleaning it up and making simple repairs. Even the police didn’t stop them. This is between them, the couple, the city, and the neighborhood. What’s it to you?
I’m a conservative, yes, but please, Rush? He’s a fat, stupid clown. Give me George Will, William Safire, or John Leo, somebody with some intellectual heft.
Why do the activists get to make the decisions? Don’t the folks who live in the neighborhood get some say?
According to the Post, land records show the house is owned by one Paul Musoke, a Massechussetts man who bought the house 11 years ago and left it abandoned. The DC government can’t do anything, they say, until they locate him.
You seem to know a lot about this. Where are you getting you information, Larry?
Me, personally? It’s nothing to me personally. It’s the issues involved that bother me.
I’m all for getting people homes, I’m against the theft of property. You can’t just move into a house you have no title to, let alone move in third parties. Stealing property, even with the best of intentions, is still theft.
Second, the neighbors were ignored, even though they had valid complaints. They had gotten their councilman to have the place boarded up because it was rat-infested. They don’t want activists moving homeless folks in their neighborhood. They have a right to protect their property. Why didn’t they try to talk to the neighbors first or get legal title to the place instead of staging a theatrical dawn raid?
I would imagine that they do not have the right to seize another’s property. Shame though that the city can’t do so under some kind of law. After all the owner has left the property to languish and bring down the value and safety of the neighborhood. Seems to me like 11 years of neglect is the greater crime.
neighborhoods in general get up in arms about ANYTHING moving in/not moving in. To me, this is the property owners business, and so far, from what I read, he’s been out of contact with the property for more than 2 years. So, the neighbors would apparently rather have a public eyesore and nuisance vs. the fixed up home?
If the homeowner comes back, these folks would get NOTHING out of this, the homeowner would now have a fixed up place. The neighbors no longer have to live with a trash/rat infested boarded up place (and if they think homeless hadn’t been hiding out there before, they’re dreaming).
and all of y’all who keep on saying “it’s up to the neighbors…” since when? it’s up to the city (via zoning regs) and the property owners how a piece is to be used. I’m reminded of a protest of neighbors in MY town - their sub division was borded on North and South by a major state highway, and on the East by a street which shared zoning with a business district. The post office wanted to put in a drive up postal substation ON the commercial property to the East. You’d have thought they were trying to open a combination prison/daycare run by Charles Manson! I kept on thinking - “you bought a home that faced commercial property - you DON’T have the right to tell that property owner (s)he can’t use it.”
so, back to this, it’s between the city (via zoning regs, but it seems that what’s happening is the group is fixing it up and then handing it over to a family, so zoning wouldn’t be an issue, MAYBE they’re violating codes requiring permits to fix stuff, but even tresspassing would need a complainer -ie the property owner), and the property owner (who can’t be found), and the group willing to fork over their sweat and supplies knowing that it might just get confiscated later. If the property owner chose to sell the property to this group to do what they’re doing, the neighbors wouldn’t have any standing in court (you don’t get to challenge some one else moving into your neighborhood as long as zoning regs aren’t broken - like you COULD stop a porn shop from moving to a residential place 'cause it’s not zoned commercial…)
I am bothered by the impression I’m getting that people think it is fine to break into a boarded up, abandoned home, and move people into it. The owner (where ever the hell he is) has rights. He has the right to say what happens to it (more or less) and if he ever decides to pay attention to the house, the perfect right to kick out the virtious, decent, noble ex-homeless/whomever lives there.
It’s his house. If he wants to come back and kick their asses on the street, he’s got the right. Course, given the legal system today, what would happen is that the activists would get lawyers and claim that since he “abandoned it” it’s now public property or some bullshit.
Most of my information comes from a WJLA-TV report in which they interviewed neighbors, activists, the couple, and police. The report also mentioned that the house had been siezed by the gov’t for non-payment of taxes, something that wasn’t in the post article. From the interview the couple appeared “normal” that is to say they weren’t shrieking about CIA implants in their brains, and did not appear to be junkies. Of course this is just my snap judgement from a brief interview, but it didn’t look like the neighbors had seen the couple at all. Based on both the post article and the TV report, the police are going to wait till the owner complains before taking action.
Generally I agree with you that it was presumptous (sp?) for the activists to “sieze” someone else’s property. However in this case the building was abandoned, foreclosed, and going to rot. Heck, even if the owner does complain and prevail (and he will prevail if he does complain) the only damage done to him will be that his house was painted cleaned and repaired! The neighbors appear to be reacting out of reverse racism (Who are those white kids coming to our neghborhood) and fear. The former is incurable and non-rational, the latter might be disspelled if they met the couple moving in.
Ultimately this action is probably a bit of pointless symbolism. It will be quickly forgotten, and there are probably few houses, in the district or elsewhere, that meet the criteria for this sort of takeover: abandoned, foreclosed, and unoccupied. But so what? At least these two people, who seem nice enough to me, will have a place to live, for a little while. What’s wrong with that?