Papers Please

Every once in a while, and more frequently than it used to happen, I have a moment where chills run down my spine and I wonder what the fuck we’re doing to ourselves as a nation. Today’s comes courtesy of the Washington Post and the DC Housing authority:

The D.C. Housing Authority began a crackdown yesterday to rid one of its most crime-ridden sites of unauthorized residents by changing the locks on dozens of apartments and requiring every resident over age 10 to get an identification card to carry at all times.

Housing officials in red T-shirts, accompanied by police, knocked on the doors of all 174 apartments at the Park Morton complex in Parkview, asking each person to produce identification.

I know crime’s been bad around here, but are we really going to a system whereby you have to carry your travel papers on you at all times? Or where people can’t visit their friends for fear of being thrown out bodily by a security guard? There’s got to be a better way.

4 Comments so far

  1. a (unregistered) on September 24th, 2006 @ 3:24 pm

    The solution is to work hard to get people off of government subsidized living.

    That there were so many people there screws us all.
    I need a card to borrow library books, why not a card to live in government housing?

  2. Don (unregistered) on September 25th, 2006 @ 12:02 pm

    Not a great comparison, A. You need a card to check out books and you certainly need paperwork to reside in government housing, but when was the last time you had to produce ID to walk in and do some research in the library? Ever drive a friend to the DMV (I know – nobody’s that good a friend, but work with me here on the example, huh?)? Did they ask you for ID to come in and sit down and wait? Head over to the mall and go to one of the museums. Any ID checks there? No.

  3. (unregistered) on September 25th, 2006 @ 5:57 pm

    Perhaps it was a poor comparison. Sorry. you sent shudders through me suggesting we accompany our friends to the DMV. Are you a sadist?

    Anyway, there were and are people living in housing that you ( assuming you pay taxes in dc) and i pay for, yet have no legal right to be receiving this subsidy. In many cases there is much illegal activity that can be stopped with these measures.

    Why are the rights of people illegally living somewhere more important than the rights of law abidding and community concerned citizens?

    I would argue that we do not wish to build community is government subsidized housing because they should merely be a means to help people back on their feet so that they may support themselves.

    We have generational homes in our enabling city. We have an overburdened systems that has a hard time actually helping people.

    Drastic measures need to happen to change this cycle.

  4. Don (unregistered) on September 25th, 2006 @ 6:39 pm

    I take no issue with insuring that the people actually living there should be there. I do take issue with demanding people be able to produce identification any any moment and a de facto rule preventing people from taking visitors in their own homes.

    I think talking about the rights of law abiding citizens vs people illegally living there is a macguffin. The article does not describe patrols rousting people who are loitering in public areas, it’s talking about hassling people inside the homes they pay rent to be in, albeit subsidized rent.

    Is that our standard for providing public assistance now? We’ll help you out, but check your dignity at the door – at any given moment we’ll feel free to come by and force your guests to leave. I don’t think that’s any way to treat people and I am unconvinced it actually accomplished much of anything.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.