December 2, 2007

Horror to Horror: Dunbar Village, Meet Phoenix Apartments

The federally created and locally tolerated misery incubator known as the Dunbar Village housing project unfortunately has a cousin in Indianapolis, the Phoenix Apartments. This 12 acre complex of 328-units at 4004 Meadows Drive is made up of nine brick buildings containing 224 one-bedroom and 104 two-bedroom apartments of approximately 600 square feet. Yes, thats right, 600 sq. ft., a crackerbox by any name. As you might imagine, thats not a terribly marketable apartment unit. What keeps this wretched apartment complex afloat? 20 year project based section 8 contracts and 10 year housing choice vouchers from the local housing authority that guarantee the owners of this crappy complex market rate rents.

This lovely residential locale is making the news again in Indianapolis as the spot where a three year old, Tajanay Bailey, was murdered by her mother and her live in boyfriend. Upon examination by the coroner, they concluded that the child had been brutalized in the week prior to her death in a manner they characterized as "torture'. The child had been removed from this woman's care by protective services and had been with a foster parent, who had repeatedly warned that the child should not be returned. Apparently, the mother did all of the steps required and despite the fact that the apartment she was living in was a filth hole and one of the most crime ridden places in Indy, despite clear signs of abuse of the child, she was returned for a trial reunification period of 30 days. It only took a couple of weeks for the mother and boyfriend to kill her.

Too many subsidized housing projects such as Dunbar and Phoenix have become these warehouses of the miserable poor, where atrocities like the Dunbar rape or this senseless murder of a child are made more possible than they should be by an environment of hopelessness and squalor. These are failed places and the remedy for them is that they must be dismantled and rebuilt and the people who live in them must be helped to create a better life for themselves if they want it. Some will, others will not, and that group should be culled from the rest and summarily sent on their way. Like Dunbar, Phoenix continues because it is located in a community that is willing to tolerate it. I hope that the day is fast approaching when neither Dunbar nor Pheonix will be tolerated any longer.

Do something in 10 minutes that could increase resources that will help transform misery incubators like Dunbar & the Phoenix Apartments