Dear D.H. Griffin

Dear D.H. Griffin,

I was outraged to find out that a company based here in Greensboro is receiving 3 million dollars to destroy public housing in New Orleans.

jaws.jpgWhy is DH Griffin profiting off of displacement of low-income people? Wasn’t the hurricane bad enough without adding to it by destroying more homes?

This time of year many of us are trying to keep in mind those who are considered less fortunate than us, those who don’t have homes, those who have been displaced. What are you and your company thinking about? Profits?

The brick buildings your company plans to destroy made it through
Hurricane Katrina when many other buildings did not. They provided thousands of units of low income housing for residents. If you destroy them as planned, they will be replaced by mixed income housing offering only a few hundred units of affordable housing. You will be participating in the continuing disaster of Katrina.

If you could prevent Katrina from happening again, would you do it?

Think about how you would feel not being able to afford tosign.jpg
live in the city you’ve lived in your whole life. Imagine being
displaced, possibly homeless or living in another city with relatives,
and then to find out that a company miles away from your hometown plans to destroy the perfectly good housing that you used to live in…and for what?? For 3 million dollars. For some extra profits. For some money.

I bet your company has some kind of holiday charity drive or corporate giving this time of year. But can anything make up for the lost homes your company plans to destroy? Will the companies donations even come close to the 3 million dollars your company will make off this deal?

This holiday season, please consider your and your company’s role in this atrocity. Please pass on this message to whomever in the DH
Griffin corporation needs to see it.

Please know that there are probably hundreds of others around Greensboro who feel as I do but did not take the time to write you a personal e-mail.

Many thanks for reading and I look forward to see whether or not your company will go through with this unjust plan. I hope not.

Isabell Moore
Greensboro, NC

Isabell, I applaud you for your compassion for this subject, but
complaining to a contractor who bid the work along with probably 20 other demolition contractors, is not who you need to blame. The
decision to demo the building(s) was that of the N.O. Housing Authority, not ours. I am sure that the government will again provide a suitable alternative for the people affected.

[Name omitted]
D. H. Griffin Companies
4706 Hilltop Road
Greensboro, NC 27407
Tel: 336-510-4067
Fax: 336-632-3047
“To improve is to change; to succeed is to change often” – Churchill

Dear [Name omitted],

Thank you for your speedy response.

Firstly…I don’t live in New Orleans, I live in Greensboro and your
company is based here. Your company is my connection to what is
happening down there. That is why I am communicating with your company, because it is the place in this whole thing that I feel I have the most stake and connection. I think every person and every company participating in the demolition of perfectly good housing has some control over the outcome, including you and your company, and including even me as someone who heard about the situation.

Secondly…What you’re saying sounds to me like you agree that the
demolition of low-income housing in New Orleans is bad, however you don’t feel responsibility to try to stop it. Or perhaps you feel you don’t have the power in this situation to stop it? Your company chose to bid on that work. Where is the line? If other people are doing something that will result in something terrible, does that make it okay to participate as well? Is there any kind of work that your company would say was so unjust that it was not willing to accept money to do it?

Would you accept money to demolish the house of a family member, if he or she was dependent on that housing, counting on it, could not return home without it? Where is the line? What obligation do we have to do all we can to stop something unfair and inhumane?

right.jpgLastly…Unfortunately the government does not have any plans to provide a suitable alternative to the people affected. They have contracted with various demolition companies to destroy 4,600 public housing units in four complexes across New Orleans and then plan to replace them with private, mixed-income developments that will set aside only 744 apartments for low-income people. Your company has been hired to
demolish the Lafitte project, where the current 896 low-income units will ultimately be replaced by only 276 low-income units. That leaves 620 units that will not be replaced. That’s 620 families without housing this holiday season.

Did you or anyone you know give to the Red Cross or other charities when Katrina hit? How is what you’re involved in now consistent with the compassion that many of us felt for the people of New Orleans as we watched the tragedy unfold on our televisions?

Many thanks for engaging in this dialogue. I hope that whether or not you agree, you will pass on to others in your company the fact that many of us in Greensboro are extremely concerned about the role your company is playing in increasing the misery of New Orleans families.

I hope you and your company consider pulling out of the deal. The
reward will be much greater than any profit your company could have gotten.

I encourage you to watch this video and see for yourself that the
housing is in quite good shape. For a fraction of what HUD is paying
you and the other companies, those buildings could be refurbished and thousands of families could be home in time for Christmas.

Isabell Moore

Thank you for your response. I will forward your comments to our
company management. I hope that you have a blessed day.
[Name omitted]
D. H. Griffin Companies
4706 Hilltop Road
Greensboro, NC 27407
Tel: 336-510-4067
Fax: 336-632-3047
“To improve is to change; to succeed is to change often” – Churchill



Filed under anarchism, protests, the big picture

6 responses to “Dear D.H. Griffin

  1. Liz: Is there any mold or foundation weakness in the brick buildings you speak of? How about electrical wiring or HVAC integrity?

    Do you think those poor people might enjoy living in newer homes?

  2. Liz: Also you might check out “Wealth of Cities” by Norquist on the new mindset in public housing. Basically, the trend for a decade or so has been to move people out of public housing and back into the private sector, perhaps with government subsidy, but at a likely savings to tax payers and better living conditions for the poor.

  3. matt shelton

    Liz, Isabell, and now, Jeffrey,

    I moved from Greensboro to New Orleans in 2006 with my fiance, Emily Zeanah, who is from New Orleans.

    It was sad and a bit spooky to hear that DH Griffin was contracted to tear down Lafitte, which is not far from where I live now. To respond to what Jeffrey raised, Lafitte suffered no damage from the storm; residents have not been allowed to retrieve their belongings, and it goes without saying that no one has been allowed to move back in.

    All of the statistics Isabel cited are true. This proposed demolition will result in an 82% loss of affordable public housing in a city with over 12,000 homeless and hundreds of thousands more externally displaced.

    It has been an intense week. There is hope right now, because the demolition has been postponed until the city council votes to approve it. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi just sent a letter to President Bush asking for a 60-day moratorium on demolition until a plan for one-for-one replacement of affordable units is on the table for all the developments.

    This is a moral issue. Many want to talk about the redevelopment in terms of “concentrated poverty” and “mixed income,” as if to suggest that is a solution to poverty, when it actually would continue the federal government’s policy of displacing black working poor. That all ignores the basic fact that people have the right to return to their homes. If public housing is to be redeveloped, we must get the residents back first so they may be the ones to reshape it; as residents, they are uniquely and exclusively informed to do so. Stopping demolition is the first step.

    Thanks for your important contribution to this pressing issue.

    In love and respect,

    Matt S.

  4. Pingback: For ‘Progress’ is a strange master of deceit « Radical Hypocrite

  5. Hey!,
    Just found your blog regarding DH Griffin. I am in the same business, however, I strive to recycle as mus as 95% demolition materials befoer they leave the site where they exist. Why demolish when you can dismantle. Please contact me as I am located here in Raleigh.


    Paul Parker
    Global Earthworks, Inc.
    400 Oberlin Road * Suite 330
    Raleigh, NC 27605
    (919) 422-9560 Mobile
    (919) 838-5172 Office
    (919) 838-5173 Fax

  6. jason

    I think dh griffin has a right to bid and receive any job.Just like any other company in the US. Dh griffin does recycle a good portion of what they demo. As far as the residents that would return to those units the unit may not be inhabitable. Just because it is public housing doest mean they have to live in substandard housing. Maybe the residents should start depending on themselve and not the government to supply them with housing.

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