Unintended consequences, always catching the self-proclaimed Smartest People On Earth by surprise.
Tenants are fleeing a D.C. high rise as the city’s progressive housing policy has led to panhandling, marijuana smoking, and at least one overdose death in the past year.
Sedgewick Gardens is an historic landmark in a high-priced neighborhood in northwest Washington, D.C., the Washington Post reported. But in the past two years, it has also come to play home to a number of formerly homeless people, many of whom may not have been pushed into housing before exposure to treatment as part of the District’s “housing first” approach to policy.
The pushing of formerly homeless people into housing prior to access to drug treatment or psychological care is part of the “housing first” approach to homelessness assistance, which argues that housing is itself a kind of care, and so people should always be provided with housing as soon as possible.
The neighborhood itself is quite liberal—the Post notes that 95 percent of voters there opposed President Donald Trump in 2016—but the results of the move-in were what the Post describes as “a high-stakes social experiment that so far has left few of its subjects happy.”
That experiment has led to a tripling of police calls to the complex, rising to 121 in 2018 compared to 34 in 2016. Only five of the 2018 calls actually were eventually linked to a crime. But they also were prompted by other harrowing situations, including a man barricading himself in his apartment and threatening to shoot police with a shotgun if they intruded; and another man found to have died from using drugs laced with the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl.
These two events are the most extreme examples of a general coarsening of the environment. Tenants have complained of panhandling in the halls, the smell of marijuana in the hallways, and feces on the landing of the stairwells.
It’s an all-too-familiar situation for me personally. When I lived in Atlanta, I was in a quite nice complex of historic industrial buildings newly renovated into apartments, the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts—new enough that only my own building was finished, the other three were still under construction.
Alas, there was a catch: having been built in part with government money, it was required that half the aparments be set aside for Section 8 benefit recipients. In a nutshell, this meant that people shelling out a thousand bucks a month or more were forced to endure certain “amenities” such as garbage-strewn lobbies and parking lots; late-night confrontations with scary-looking thugs roaming the premises; loud, shrieking domestic disputes; aggressive panhandlers, and other examples of Diversity’s dubious benefits.
The only thing missing from all this was the feces. And who knows, they probably turned up too eventually, I was only there for two years.
Our lobby had a mailbox center in the middle of it, for which the management was gracious enough to provide convenient recycling tubs to toss the day’s pile of junk mail into. They posted up a flier above them requesting that residents NOT use the junk-mail bins to toss household and kitchen garbage bags into, with a reminder of the dumpsters located nearby. They even put a map on the fliers, if I remember right.
I’m sure you know how well THAT worked out. Immediately on entering the front door you were confronted with the eye-watering stench of rotting food, curdled milk, soiled diapers, half-full 40’s of Old English, cigarette butts, cat litter, and whatever other nastiness the Section 8 animals were disposing of that day. The junk-mail bins quicky filled, whereupon Section 8’ers would just toss their overflowing, nasty bags right onto the floor.
It wasn’t just inside the building, either. I was out on the parking lot one stifling summer afternoon to work on my girlfriend’s car—they don’t call it Hotlanta for nothing, folks. I crawled up under the car, dragging my tools along with me, and sort of inch-wormed my way to where I need to be. After a few minutes I noticed two things: an unknown object or objects jabbing painfully into my back, and a truly nauseating stench. I wriggled back out and took the look underneath that I should have thought of before getting under there, to find that I had been lying on a big pile of maggot-ridden, half-eaten fried chicken bones left to fester in the sun for who even knows how long.
It was a great big old pile of DISGUSTING, that’s what. Coincidentally, or probably not, a year or two I had an Uber rider leave a gift of rib bones in my back seat, wrapped in a greasy, BBQ sauce-smeared wad of paper napkins. The magnanimous gesture on the part of my middle-aged black female fare was left unbeknownst to me, until the end of the day when I went to clear any such debris out of the back seat. And I had had several subsequent passengers after her, too. God only knows what they might have thought about all that.
Pleaase note that I am NOT presenting those last two stories as some kind of “ohh, them niggers and their chicken and ribs and watermelons!” thing. Just noting that a mighty casual attitude on the part of so many of your standard lower-class Dindus towards not trashing his or her immediate surroundings may possibly not be entirely coincidental, that’s all. Could be—COULD be—there’s something bigger at work here.
Anyways, back to the Lofts. You always knew which apartment housed a Section 8’er or three (or thirty). You couldn’t miss ’em. They were the apartments with the unpleasant smell wafting through the short corridor outside the door; the rap “music” blasting out at ear-rupturing volume any and all hours of the day or night; the malt liquor bottles and gooey pizza boxes piled in ziggurats adjacent to the door; the sounds of violent altercations, furniture being rougly shoved around, or shattering glass. Now and then a resident passed out on the floor by the door, maybe, which door might or might not be left standing partially or fully open.
In sum, I have NO intention of ever subjecting myself to dwelling in any complex that also hosts Section 8 recipients if I can help it. Likewise, I am NOT in the least surprised to read about the sad denouement of inflicting such thoughtless slobs on a once-grand old property like the Sedgewick Gardens. The Libs In Charge of this ill-considered farce coulda asked me, I woulda been glad to tell ’em how things were gonna work out for’em in the end. Not that they would want to hear it, or profit from the knowledge they gained.