ANC 8F Hears Update on Onyx on First

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Advisory Neighborhood Commission 8F (ANC 8F) met on Dec. 19. Commissioners Nic Wilson (8F01), Brian Strege (secretary, 8F03) and Edward Daniels (chair, 8F04), Clayton Rosenberg (vice chair, 8F05) were in attendance. Rick Murphree (treasurer, 8F02) was absent.

A representative of the tenants’ association from the Onyx on First, 1100 First St. SE, thanked the commissioners for their efforts to rectify challenging living conditions at the property. As a result of the commission’s advocacy, over 100 smoke detectors were installed in bedrooms, filthy windows were cleaned and reliable access to hot water provisioned, she stated. “You should know you made a huge difference to people in my building,” she said.

Despite all this repair work, the building’s parking garage door remains broken and open, the tenant representative stated. After two years of complaints, management now plans to replace the door, she said. On a positive note, the DC Dept. of Buildings (DOB) is conducting effective inspections and imposing significant fines on management, she said.

The tenant representative also cited a building-wide mold problem which she attributed to earlier water damage. As a result, units are failing DC Housing Authority (DCHA) inspections, forcing tenants to leave or lose their housing vouchers, she stated.

Building management has engaged in a pattern of illegal activities primarily targeting lower income voucher holders, the representative alleged. Illegal collection notices have been posted on resident doors and illegal fees have been added to tenant accounts, she said.

Building management conducts unit inspections, utility shutoffs and makes repairs without notice to tenants, a resident stated. All management notices are sent through email, which is ineffective at reaching elderly tenants, she pointed out. However, management has become more accommodating to tenant organizers, she stated.

Elevators are often out of service, another tenant stated. Often, all elevators are broken, he continued, making it very difficult for elderly and disabled residents to leave their apartments.

“I don’t stay home. I don’t feel safe,” stated another resident. Her car has been keyed and damaged in the garage, she said. “It is dangerous in my building.” The exterior doors are not secured, she said.

Building management had responded to the commission’s written inquiry, stating there were no maintenance issues, said Chair Daniels. The commission has also written to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) asking for assistance in removing the building’s management, he continued.

“I pay $2400 for a one bedroom and the amenities are not provided,” another resident stated.

“They are targeting older Black people who are poor,” another resident said.

“I hate hearing that you can’t stay in your place because you have no heat,” said Daniels. “In my opinion, this a slum lord that has gotten away with this for too long,” he said.

Commissioners promised vigorous follow up.

Other Matters

Treasurer Rick Muphree will step down on Jan. 31.

ANC 8F generally meets on the fourth Tuesday of the month. The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 23 at DDOT Headquarters at 250 M St. SE. For more information, visit anc8f.org.