Two Birds With One Stone: What To Do With Vacant Properties

This is one of those posts where the title is disproportionately long with the post itself, but whatever.

Vacant properties are a huge problem in DC, and a particular blight in our neighborhood. Owned by everyone from churches to foreign governments to local slumlords to even the DC government, they are dangerous, unsightly, and break up the mesh of our urban village. But what do you do about them?

At the same time, one of my pet issues is the difficulty the people who serve our neighborhood have in finding places to live here. Our police should live in the neighborhoods they protect. Our teachers deserve to teach the students they meet in the street. Our fire fighters ought not live seventy miles away when a three-alarm blaze hits. But the city has so far provided no good ideas for addressing the lack of affordable housing for those who, while not below the poverty line, are underpaid thanks to our screwed-up value system.

I can’t believe I’ve never thought of it before, but Cary Silverman, who we are supporting in his bid for the Ward 2 council seat currently occupied by Jack Evans, has a great idea about this. Turn vacant property into affordable housing for exactly this purpose! Simply brilliant!