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New Program In D.C. Has Homeless Renovating Homes For A Home Of Their Own

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D.C. officials say the goal is to expand the program to other vacant city properties, and down the road, include private development as well. ?
Patrick Madden
D.C. officials say the goal is to expand the program to other vacant city properties, and down the road, include private development as well. ?

The front door of the brick-red house on Wayne Place seems to hang by a single hinge. Large, vine-like weeds snake up the weathered three-story building on all sides, and the inside is gutted and stripped to the bone.

?But walk through the house with Wakina Miller, and you see the potential.

?"We gonna pull the floors up – probably run some wiring," she says.

Right now, Miller lives in a homeless shelter with her two young girls. She’s part of pilot program for homeless people on welfare. The District teaches them the construction trade, they work on vacant city properties, and when the crew finishes renovating the property, they have a place to stay for two years.

?In the process of fixing up these properties, learning a trade and earning a paycheck, the city hopes Miller and others in the program will experience a positive transformation.

"It feels great," says Miller. "I can’t stop smiling. I'm not even one to smile, but hey I have been smiling since this started and it just feels so good."

?City officials say the goal is to expand the program to other vacant city properties, and down the road, include private development as well. ?

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