Jan 22, 2019
A conversation with Daniel del Pielago, Organizing Director at Empower DC, is a good reminder that public policy change cannot be made or sustained without an organized community. And when the community seeking change is public housing residents, the barriers to becoming organized are considerable and the stakes are extremely high. Daniel tells the story of Berry Farms, a public housing complex beset by deteriorating conditions and a lack of public investment. Berry Farms is slated to be demolished and replaced by mixed-use housing, featuring market rate apartments and town homes. Many residents have been dispersed throughout the City with promises to be returned. But they are organizing and making their voices heard in City Council hearings. The DC Court of Appeals recently vacated approval of the development plan, finding that resident needs are not adequately represented. Empower DC is clearly in the fight for the long haul.