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Lines Form For Jobs In New Department Of Homeland Security Building

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People began lining up at 4 a.m. for a chance to apply for construction jobs at 2701 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue in southeast D.C.
Kavitha Cardoza
People began lining up at 4 a.m. for a chance to apply for construction jobs at 2701 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue in southeast D.C.

By Kavitha Cardoza

The new Department of Homeland Security, or D.H.S., headquarters being built in southeast D.C. is expected to create 1,000 on site jobs as part of the more than $3 billion project, and many residents are hoping to take some of those coveted spots.

When Christopher Moskowitz got in line at six this morning, there were already more than 50 people ahead of him. They're all hoping to land a construction job on the DHS site.

Moskowitz has been unemployed for four months and has filled out hundreds of job applications. In his words, it's been "rough."

"Just needing some work. Old lady coming down on me," he says. "It was alright with her at first and she was understanding, but understanding doesn't get the bills paid."

Nia Brown is one of the few women in the queue. She says she has two children to take care of.

"It's a struggle. You got to ask people to help you. And I don't like asking people to help me," she says. "I want to do it myself."

Shapour Ebadi overseas the project. He says contractors have been asked to use the local labor force as much as possible.

"We want to be a good neighbor. We're one of the biggest recipients of stimulus funds," says Ebadi. "And we want to see what we can do to help the community."

Residents will have to wait a little longer: hiring will begin in earnest when the weather gets warmer.

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