Neapolean Granderson walks into a first-floor apartment in a Southeast Washington building. Cobwebs drip from the ceiling.

social sciences


Neapolean Granderson walks into a first-floor apartment in a Southeast Washington building. Cobwebs drip from the ceiling. Holes pock the stained walls. A toilet lay on its side, broken and useless. ¶ Granderson smiles, proudly. ¶ “This is it,” he says. Apartment 101, where he once lived and where, depending on how he performs in a District pilot program, he might soon again call home. ¶ In what District officials describe as an unprecedented effort, several city agencies and nonprofit groups have come together to create a program that, if successful, would reduce homelessness, public assistance rolls and the number of abandoned buildings across Washington. A program that, if successful, could prove a model for easing people off welfare at a time when the city is ending its practice of limitless benefits. ¶ The program, Sweat Equity, is based on a simple formula: Take individuals who have been homeless and on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and give them jobs refurbishing vacant city buildings, where they can then live for two years rent-controlled. In other words, hand them a hammer, not a handout.

But whether the program proves successful depends on a complex set of factors: the ability of D.C. agencies to work seamlessly together, the willingness of outside contractors to employ novice workers and the drive of the participants, many of whom have spotty work histories. This time, they can’t just want it. They’ll have to sweat for it.

“I think we’ve done a good job creating a community dependent on benefits and handouts,” says David Ross, an official with the D.C. Department of Human Services. “And now that those are available no more, we need to do a better job of helping customers become self-sufficient.” 

According to the most recent counts, more than 17,000 city families receive TANF benefits. There are also about 858 homeless families in Washington and 70 vacant city-owned buildings, more than half in Southeast.

In February, Ross got orders to make the program happen. By May, Granderson and 13 other participants were sitting in a classroom, learning how to read blueprints. Now, stop by two buildings on Wayne Place SE any day of the week and there they are in yellow vests, tearing down walls, hauling bricks and seeing past the rubble of what was and imagining what might be

Related Questions in social sciences category

The ready solutions purchased from Library are already used solutions. Please do not submit them directly as it may lead to plagiarism. Once paid, the solution file download link will be sent to your provided email. Please either use them for learning purpose or re-write them in your own language. In case if you haven't get the email, do let us know via chat support.