In what resembled a processional of the blues, about 50 public housing residents told a city fact-finding hearing panel yesterday of the dilapidated conditions of their tenement homes.
Mary Williams, president of the Fort Dupont housing development, was one of several who spoke with emotion as she told a group of advisory neighborhood commissioners about poor maintenance, neglect, and indifference on the part of her landlord, the D.C. housing department's Property Management Administration (PMA).
"Since I have been at Fort Dupont, PMA has neglected us and living conditions have steadily deteriorated," declared Williams, a 13-year resident of the project, located at 155 Ridge Rd. SE.
"If PMA thinks that Fort Dupont's roofs do not need repair, it should talk to Ms. Lindsay, whose ceiling fell in on Christmas Day, causing four walls to collapse in her apartment," Williams said. "And it should talk to Ms. Stevenson, who had water seeping through her roof so badly that it destroyed most of her clothes in her closet. And please talk to Ms. Patten, whose roof has been leaking for two years so that her ceiling is now falling in."
A dozen public housing projects were represented at the hearing, which was organized by a coalition of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions to gather information to draft recommendations for the D.C Department of Housing and Community Development.
As representatives of the projects addressed the panel, recurring complaints included broken gas lines, leaking water pipes, vandalized vacant apartments, and walls, floors and ceilings with holes in them.
There also were complaints of being excluded from meetings held by PMA to determine where and how money would be spent on the projects. Next Saturday, PMA officials will address the ANC panel and respond to the residents' complaints.