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Philanthropist's Last Wish: Affordable Housing

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D.C. council members took $18 million out of the Housing Production Trust Fund to pay for other things -- money that's supposed to help low-income tenants purchase buildings.
Sabri Ben-Achour
D.C. council members took $18 million out of the Housing Production Trust Fund to pay for other things -- money that's supposed to help low-income tenants purchase buildings.

By Sabri Ben-Achour

Four very non-descript brick buildings sit on Anacostia Avenue, near the Anacostia River in northeast D.C. They're public housing complexes. Carol Moore has lived in one for eight years. "They're in a terrible condition," says Moore. "Some people are having problem with the roof leaking, in their apartments, the wires and stuff are crossed in terms of the phone, the building's in a bad shape."

Revamping this area was one of the last wishes of philanthropist Abe Pollin. And it's coming true. The public housing will be torn down and rebuilt, and 83 new units of affordable housing will be added. Robert Pollin is Abe's son. He says his father had in mind teachers, police officers and others who could otherwise not afford to live near the very communities they served.

"This is affordable housing, that's the whole point, this is for people who as my father said, people who make the city go," says Pollin.

Many in city government say it absolutely would not have happened without Pollin's money and his constant pressure. "If you want to know who took the mayor to the woodshed, it's Abe Pollin, he was not gonna let this project not happen," says D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty.

Construction isn't expected to begin for another year.

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