For Immediate Release                       Contact:  202-547-3039

July 30, 2001                                             





WHEN: Monday, JULY 30, 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM

WHERE:                1000 5th ST SE (Nearest metro station: Navy Yard or Eastern Market)

SPEAKERS:         CARL MESSINEO, Esq., Partnership for Civil Justice, Inc.

                                DUSHAW HOCKETT, Director, Public Housing Residents National Organizing


Residents at a public housing development near the Navy Yard organize a town hall meeting to discuss a massive, 400-million-dollar gentrification project that threatens to dislocate their community.  Come learn about their struggles and plans for a future that will enhance their community rather than destroy it.

DID YOU KNOW (references to page and figure numbers are from the HOPE VI application):

·         On June 22, 2001, over the vocal protests of public housing residents, DC Housing Authority (DCHA) submitted a HOPE VI application for HUD funds to redevelop three adjacent public housing sites in the southeastern part of the city, collectively called Arthur Capper / Carrollsburg Dwellings.  A decision from HUD is expected in the fall.

·         From the point of view of the taxpayer, the following is the HOPE VI application in a nutshell (see Attachment pp.146-147): 707 families and seniors will be displaced from their homes at taxpayer expense of $2.5 million, while their homes will be demolished at taxpayer expense of $4 million.  Another $1.8 million of taxpayer money will be used to buy up over two dozen homes and small businesses,  “if necessary by eminent domain” (pp.  33, 37, 45).  These properties will then be sold to private developers.  Twenty-five acres of public land will be sold to private developers for $33.2 million, as well as another lot for $4.3 million.  The proceeds of the land sale will be used to build subsidized housing on what will become private land.  The total input of public funds will be $89.8 million, including 34.9 million in federal money and $54.8 million in District of Columbia money, with an additional 98.6 million in tax-exempt bonds.

·         The privatization of public land is an aspect of the proposed project that is barely alluded to in the application and went unreported in a recent article in the Washington Post (Metro Section, July 9, 2001).

·         The planned use of eminent domain to turn over homes and businesses to large-scale private developers was first reported on by The Common Denominator in relation to other areas of the city (May 21, 2001), and can hardly be legitimate.  Eminent domain refers to the power to acquire private property for public purposes.

·         To date, over 67% of residents at Arthur Capper Family and Carrollsburg Dwellings have signed a petition stating: “DC Housing Authority and Mid-City Urban, LLC have ignored our concerns, circumvented our decisions, and misled us on the relocation and re-entry processes”, and that: “We deny the submission of the HOPE VI application as submitted by the above parties”.  This indicates a huge level of concern on the part of residents.

·         Resident council presidents, on the other hand, have signed a letter which says: “DCHA, the Design team and the consultant to the Housing Authority...  have continued to provide us information so that we could make informed decisions....Despite what others may say, we can assure you that a majority of our residents support this HOPE VI application and the promise of revitalization” (Attachment p.37).

·         Resident council presidents will have reached the limit of their term of office in the fall, and according to the by-laws, new elections should then take place.  Yet, they are already in the process of forming a Community Development Corporation that is supposed to represent residents for the coming five years of the HOPE VI process.

·         The HOPE VI plan calls for progressively removing and widely dispersing residents (except for residents living at Arthur Capper Seniors) while demolition and reconstruction takes place over a minimum five-and-a-half year period, thus leading to the fragmentation of a long-standing, close-knit community.

·         DCHA projects that “66% of residents will elect Section 8 vouchers as permanent relocation”.  The others will be relocated to other public housing developments or to unsubsidized housing (p.28).  However, DCHA cites the following statistics for Washington, DC:

·         16,434 families are on the waiting list for Section 8 housing (p.26).

·         11,097 families are on the waiting list for public housing (p.26).

·         50% of people given Section 8 vouchers are unable to find housing prior to voucher           expiry date.

·         The occupancy rate for public housing units is 98%.

·         Under the HOPE VI plan, DCHA has announced a one-to-one replacement of the existing 707 very-low income housing units: “Our program replaces every occupied public housing unit currently on the site” (p.2).  However, only 467 of the replacement units will be for low-income residents (Fig. E-2 p.36; Fig. E-3 p.47 shows 567 low-income units].  This includes only 50 units designed for Section 8 ownership (p.36).

·         Only 390 units for low-income residents will actually be on-site (p.36). 

The other 77 units for low-income families will be relocated off-site, 65 of those to a former DPW garbage transfer station (pp.33, 37) at 2nd and K St, SE, a site that may have contaminated soil (p.40) and other environmental hazards.

·         The existing 297 units for very-low income seniors (p.17) will be replaced

by only 200 units for low-income seniors (p.36).


·         Families with incomes as high as $68,480 (for a family of four) will qualify for Section 8 homeownership, further diluting the number of homes that will be available to truly low-income families (p.38).

·         Low-income units will be subject to a rent ceiling applicable to families with income as high as $51,360 (for a family of four) (p.64).

·         DCHA promises that “The new housing will offer every resident the opportunity to return” (p.3).  In actual practice, however, strict screening criteria, including credit history and five-year rent payment history (p.66), will prevent many families in financial difficulty from returning to the re-developed site.

·         The HOPE VI application presents contradictory and misleading information about the number of residents who wish to return.  In one section, it projects, “based on past HOPE VI’s”, that “66% of residents will elect Section 8 vouchers as permanent relocation” (p.28), i.e. that only 34% of residents will wish to return.  In another section  it projects, “based on a survey of the residents” (actually the survey did not include a question on whether residents wished to return) that only 66% of current residents will wish to return (pp.43-44).

·         Nationwide, HOPE VI sites are losing anywhere from 66% to 90% of original residents.




·         Figures are manipulated in different sections of the application according to the message that DCHA is trying to convey.  For instance, to justify use of public funds for 290 assisted housing units targeted for moderate income residents, moderate income is defined as 30%-60% of area median income in Fig I-1.  To show income mix on the other hand, moderate income for the same 290 sites is re-defined as 30%-80% of area median income in Fig. E-2.

·         Other examples of misleading discrepancies:  in one section of the application, the income mix for the re-developed site is 30% low-income, 27% moderate income, and 43% market rate (Fig. E-2).  In another section purporting to show a balanced income mix, the distribution of units is 33% low income, 33% moderate, and 34% market rate (Fig. E-3).  This is done by moving 137 off-site units from market rate in Fig E-2 to 87 moderate and 50 low-income units in Fig. E-3.

·         The evaluation process is to be conducted by the Howard University Center for Urban Progress, but in actuality much of the data will be controlled by DCHA and developers.  DCHA will provide “surveys and background data to create the baseline for the study”, and “progress reports from the CSS plan case managers”.  Progress will be monitored by “relying in part on quarterly reports prepared for HUD” (p.5).




Capper/Carrollsburg Residents Organize Against Proposed Development and Relocation, Hill Rag (Published July 2001) ( DCHA tenants ask to manage complex, by John DeVault, The Common Denominator (Published July 2, 2001) (