In The Wake Of Allegations Of Sexual Assault, A Visit To Gilmor Homes
Last spring, Freddie Gray was apprehended near the Gilmor Homes public housing project in Sandtown-Winchester, one of Baltimore’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. His death from injuries allegedly sustained while in police custody focused a lot of attention on Sandtown, and the many challenges that residents there face, including the conditions at the Gilmor Homes.
In late September, allegations surfaced that women who live in Gilmor Homes were assaulted by maintenance workers who demanded sex in return for doing routine repairs in their apartments. In light of those allegations, producer JonnaMcKone and I went to the Gilmor Homes where we met Perry Hopkins. He’s an organizer with Communities United, a group that advocates on behalf of the residents. In October, he took us to visit Tyesha Harrell who showed us around the rest of her home. We saw huge holes in the wall of one of the children’s bedrooms, caused, she said, by rodents. We saw tiles falling off the wall and evidence of cockroach infestation. The toilet leaks.
We’ve invited Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano to the show to address the Baltimore City Housing Authority's failure to act on allegations of sexual abuse and the conditions in public housing. He's declined our invitation, thus far. Since we first reported this story in September, the Housing Authority has said it will overhaul its work order system and hire more than 80 people to address overdue repairs. The Housing Authority has also been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s.
After our visits to Gilmor Homes, we spoke with Eva Rosen, a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s Poverty and Inequality Research Lab, and with Perry Hopkins, the community organizer who showed us around earlier.