Omar Fekeiki reported in the Washington Post yesterday that the historic 117-room Phillis Wheatley YWCA at 901 Rhode Island Ave. NW in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington DC is infested with bed bugs, among other problems. (It’s not affiliated with the national YWCA.) The ladies who live there are now withholding rent.
Protesting residents who picketed Tuesday were all elderly women. So it’s another case of elderly, low-income tenants having to put up with bed bugs. And they’re stuck in those rooms all the time, since their building lobby, a former hangout, has lately been used as an office storage area.
Jennifer Berger, a lawyer with AARP, is trying to help the residents improve their living standards.
“The management is completely unresponsive to the needs of the most vulnerable residents in D.C.,” she said. “The conditions in the building are exacerbating the physical conditions of the tenants.”
Local activist Alex Padro had the right idea:
Padro said, “I’m confident if we get the [YWCA] board to meet in one of the bug-infested rooms, they’ll get the inspection team fast.”