SE D.C. residents push for vacant homes to be renovated

The four vacant homes are apparently known to attract crime, but some changes could revitalize them.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Residents in one Southeast neighborhood are pushing the city to accept a plan that could help revitalize four vacant homes known to attract crime.

The homes are all located in the city's historic Anacostia neighborhood. Under the plan, D.C. would transfer its control of the properties to the L'Enfant Trust, a non-profit preservation group based in DuPont Circle.

Some residents said they support the plan because the city has let the building fall apart for years.

Latasha Gunnels told WUSA9 the building next to her home attracts vandals and people who like to dump trash. She even said she has caught people relieving themselves on the property.

Read the legislation here.

"I just feel like people would not be able to hang out and loiter around this house if it was owned by someone," she said.

L'Enfant Trust said it would like to convert the buildings into workforce housing for single families. Before that can happen, a bill must pass in the D.C. City Council that would formally hand over the city's properties to the trust.

Councilmembers announced a hearing will take place at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Wilson Building downtown to discuss the matter.

L'Enfant Trust expects a final vote to take place on the issue in either December or January.

WUSA9 reached out to D.C.'s Department of Housing and Community Development to see why the city let the four properties fall into such disrepair. It has yet to receive an answer.

The four properties are located on the 1300 block of Valley Place, 1200 block of Maple View, 1500, block of W. Street and 1600 block of U Street, all in Southeast.

DHCD Director Polly Donaldson released the following statement:

One of our top priorities is returning vacant and blighted properties in our communities to productive use. Under the Bowser Administration, we’ve enhanced the solicitations process to dispose of properties within our inventory.

Preserving affordable housing is the optimal result of our disposition process. Therefore, the agency does not intend to sole source the redevelopment of vacant properties outside of its normal disposition process because doing so could negatively impact our goal to preserve affordability, eliminates DC's first source and CBE priorities, and discourages the District from getting the best deal for its assets by giving them away without a competitive process.


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