Washington D.C. Turning Public Housing Over to Resident Owners

A welfare mother of five who organized a housing complex sparks a national trend

On a sunny day in October, Kimi Gray was handed a gold key in a celebration marking the first time in U.S. history that public-housing residents could become the owners of their homes. To her, it was an occasion rich with meaning. "Poor people," she says, "are allowed the same dreams as everyone else." The event was a significant step in a revolution that has been moving through more than a dozen public-housing projects across America for 15 years. In these complexes, tenants have balked at the notion that poverty means helplessness, and are taking over the management of their housing.


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