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One of the architectural quirks of Asbury Dwellings, a low-income senior building in Shaw, is its deeply recessed windows. The ample frames give the building a stately appearance and shield residents from the elements. They do much the same for the neighborhood’s homeless population, which has taken to hanging out, enjoying a meal, and sleeping in them, says Earl Storm, president of the Asbury tenants association.
“It’s utterly ridiculous,” Storm says. “This whole thing is jammed up—-it’s almost like you got to put in a reservation [for a window].”
Residents who live in the apartments facing these cozy cubbies are afraid to open their blinds. The wall on the building’s west side (on 7th Street NW) has also become the de facto bathroom for the window squatters.
On Oct. 11, the Reverend Joseph K. Williams, executive director for Emmaus Services for the Aging, shot off a letter to various councilmembers about the window units.
The potential solution? Stick some bars over those window boxes so you can’t fit so much as half a butt cheek in there. George Caruso of Edgewood Management Corp., Asbury’s management company, says that while his company is examining “architectural modifications,” there could be complications with fire codes and historic preservation regulations. He plans to meet with tenants in the next few weeks to review his findings.