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Section Eight
Big Ron's Baltimore

I’ve Got a new neighbor who grew up on Collington and Madison Street in East Baltimore. He’s Irish but he said that that area was manly Chechs, before it turned into a black ghetto and they all slid out.

I worked for a guy who had a house at Patterson Park and Chase Street that his grandfather had bought the house after WWI. He dies and the grandmother moved in with relatives out of the area and the family started to rent it out in the 60s, turned it into a rental in the 60s and he inherited it later.

He said that they had decent black renters as they were moving into the neighborhood in the 70s and 80s and it started to get harder and harder to get money out of them and spending all this time tied up in rental court. The house was worth like four grand if he could even sell it. But he could turn it into a section eight and make money on it, about a thousand dollars a month right from the government. The renter was obligated to pay a fractional amount like 64, dollars and the renters never paid it and he let them slide on that, he could care less.

It was either section eight or let it go vacant.

It’s the law that you have to provide a refrigerator and a stove, so he’d go to a guy like Yusef and get the appliances and apply a fresh coat of paint on everything after the renters had ripped the place apart and been removed by court order. [Sheriff’s do this, guarding the courthouse and supervising court-ordered evictions being their most visible municipal roles.]

Then the place has to be renovated for the new renters, so that they have a clean slate to start destroying.

From what I’ve gathered, if you are talking about an older person without children they stay there until they die. But if it’s people with children and grandchildren they aren’t getting evicted until the police shut the house down or they move. The police will shut it down for becoming a nuisance house. They generally don’t call for repairs for the stove being out, for instance, because they don’t want the damage they’ve done to be seen.

You’ll see flat-out graffiti in the house, busted holes in the walls, the doors and windows are really fucked. You’ll see the refrigerator and stove—somehow its typical for them to be damaged or stolen and then replace it with one that don’t work from the dump. Anytime you want to light a cigarette or a crackpipe you do it with the stove, which is really going to wear out the heating element—a steady stream of people flicking it on to light a blunt, a crackpipe or a cigarette and it’s not going to last long.

There is no reason to evict them, you don’t even have to see them.

You get in that section eight game, it’s like anything else when you get involved with the government, they buy your heart and soul and your stick. Think of this company that runs something like Dutch Village. Think of the headaches in that. Either you get burnt out and don’t give a fuck or you just get worn down. When it’s given to you, nobody cares.

My Dad was doing a job up at Northbrook in the late 80s, the county side of Dutch Village. I was probably in Woodholme, elementary school and I went there with him while he worked. His company was working, renovating these apartments at night. They’d move the section eight people out and there would be walls busted out, or there is graffiti on them, I’m talking about a lot of spray paint graffiti like you’d see on the highway overpass. Not something kids would do but the type of spray paint graffiti that you’d see then agers doing. You also Had your kid graffiti with pens and markers.

I was helping him do some things. I had ground rules but I don’t remember what the said. I do remember he locked the door. There was some hoodrats who beat on the door and yelled, “Fuck you, white buy, we’re going to get you white boy.”

He had his k-bar with him and he could throw it. He could hit a playing card from thirty feet with that thing and he threw it completely through the door so the blade came out the other end and they screamed like little girls and you heard them beating feet up the steps and out the door. They were mid-teenage years, 14-16.

Thriving in Bad Places

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