Washington: Bootstrap Homeowners

Bootstrap Homeowners

When Washington Mayor Marion Barry handed a golden key to Kimi Gray last week, an unprecedented transaction was at hand: tenants of a once run-down public- housing complex were about to buy the property. Gray had been fighting for this moment since 1981, when she decided that the Kenilworth projects' 464 apartments needed tenant management. Gray organized and inspired the tenants, got them to keep their kids in school and hunt for jobs. By 1986, rent receipts were up 77%; Gray says welfare dependency, once as high as 85%, is down to 3%.

All this helped move Congress last year to...

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