Monday, April 13, 2015

What makes a "good" neighbor?

When I think of my "good" neighbors they come from different economic backgrounds, some neighbors rent while others own; some neighbors go to work every day and others are between jobs or are retired. Some neighbors have degrees and others are certified in the school of hard knocks. They come from different age groups and different backgrounds but one thing they have in common is a sense of community pride. There is this sense that we are all in this together and that is what I love about my neighbors -- they believe! We clean the streets faithfully and pick up after our less concerned neighbors and visitors because we care about our community. We know that accountability begins with each one of us. For those community warriors I am thankful -- they give back quietly and without much fanfare. And while I applaud their commitment, I do at times share their frustration for having to pick up the slack for our less motivated bretheren. 

Do "community conscious" residents have the right to be frustrated or should they be more understanding of behavior that is lacking?

As an example I am sharing some photos from an apartment building in my neighborhood. Every morning a maintenance worker comes out and picks up the litter and trash left from the day before yet by early afternoon the empty snack bags, beer cans, diapers and other litter have returned. This cycle repeats itself everyday unchanged. Who are the litter bugs? Mostly tenants in that very apartment building. 

Coincidentally this property has recently become the epicenter for most of our neighborhood's disorderly behavior (and at times crime). This moderately sized building of about 60 units has become our own little center of the universe --  we either revolve either through special care (ex. cleaning up their trash) or by avoiding it all together. Over the weekend I saw a man assaulted -- in broad daylight -- by a group of teens who were moments before spending the afternoon smoking weed in front of the building's gates.

It's an open secret that this apartment building is now one of the city's Rapid Rehousing properties -- one of two on our block. And through coincidence (or perception) there has definitely been a link drawn by some neighbors who remember a time not too long ago when our street was quiet, clean and orderly. There is definitely a perception (however founded or unfounded) that since the rollout of the these new housing programs in these buildings that there has definitely been an uptick in "un-neighborly" behavior. 

The Advoc8te isn't sure what the solution is (assuming there is a problem), just merely presenting an observation -- one that is definitely not as rosy as I would like, in hopes that perhaps it sparks a dialogue that leads to some positive action. 

Do we address the issue directly or just sweep it under the rug?


nivin said...

Hav4e they tried placing a few trashcans around the property. Most people will there is a can within easy reach. Of course, all rapid rehousing clients are not "bad neighbors", but I believe many are. that's why many are homeless in the first place. After all, if they are working and able to contribute something, their families or friends would have taken them in. Most of those who have to depend on the government for housing are people that families and friends did not want around them.

Anonymous said...

Where is this building? If all of the concerns you raise are true, then DCHA and the Mayor's Office needs to be contacted. In addition, the ANC and the candidates for Ward 8 need to be alerted and a statement needs to be extracted from them.

Mari said...

Your block needs a Brian. We have a Brian, and sometimes... sometimes he inspires the rest of us to clean up the block when he's away. It helps to have one citizen to take it upon themselves to clean the whole block, quietly in a very non-confrontational manner, every day or every other day, (at least weekly) to bring order to the block. You have to do the whole block because trash blows.
It also takes a few other neighbors doing a small and regular part to add to the orderliness of the block.
The bare minimum of a 'good' neighbor is one who is open to connections with others and ready to help, who keeps their own disorder inside their home. Great neighbors are blessings, friendly, respectful and proactive.

h st ll said...

Slightly OT (but I consider it related) - are you going to make some posts about how condo prices are now listing much higher at times EOTR?

IE 1110 Savannah SE #34 is for sale for 185k and its only 433 sq Ft

I've noticed that listing prices have gone up quite a bit recently