Breaking Crystal: What We’ve Learned In The Year Since HAWS Announced Plans To Sell Crystal Towers

It was one year ago to the day that the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem (HAWS) announced that it was putting Crystal Towers up for sale. The 11-story high-rise located at 625 West Sixth Street in downtown Winston-Salem, opened in 1970 and is home to approximately 200 residents.* According to Heather Fearnbach, the woman who wrote the book on Winston’s architectural heritage, Crystal Towers was the city’s first high-rise dwelling erected since the late 1920s. Crystal Towers, (along with its sister high-rise, Sunrise Towers) was designed to serve as housing for the elderly. Today, one hundred percent of Crystal Towers’ residents are elderly and or people with disabilities. These are the last folks that the Housing Authority should be evicting.

New Out-Of-State Owner Of Greenway Village Apartments Is Evicting Tenants With Records

“Mass evictions are taking place at the Greenway Village Apartments.” That’s what a friend of mine with Housing Justice Now told me on Saturday.* I stopped by Greenway Village Monday afternoon to see if I could verify what I had been told and to encourage anyone facing eviction to fight back. The Greenway Village Apartments are located just behind the former St. Phillips Moravian Church. The one-story frame apartments were built in the late 1940s to address a severe housing shortage after World War II.

Responding To The Chronicle’s East End Commentary

“The most important thing about the East End is the people.” -Ayers Saint Gross, 8/21/2018

Earlier this week The Chronicle wrote an editorial that was aimed at this website without mentioning it by name. The Chronicle’s, Commentary: Our View: East End redevelopment was an attempt to convince The Chronicle’s readers that there is nothing to see, nothing going on in the “East End” that’s worthy of sharing on social media. But the photos I posted on Facebook (and the article I posted on the subject) tell a different story. And they attracted enough attention to merit a response from The Chronicle.

Winston-Salem City Council Merry-Go-Round: February 18, 2019, Robert Clark Is Right!

Monday night’s meeting of the Winston-Salem City Council started out as expected. A moment of silence was observed, then the pledge of allegiance was recited, members of the community were honored before the council addressed the business of the city. A recently announced, city wide hiring freeze due to a projected budget shortfall was not mentioned, neither was the loss of another corporate headquarters, as BB&T’s bigwigs make their way to Charlotte. But City Hall certainly heated up 11 minutes into the meeting. That’s when Councilmember Robert Clark spoke in opposition to spending  $333,570 on a disparity study.

Neighborhood Park On Second Street Was Originally Planned Site For Innovative Affordable Housing

“The unfortunate reality is that most affordable housing looks exactly like what it is and adds to boundaries that quietly separate race, culture, and class.” 

 -David J. Brown, The Home House Project

 

In 2003, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Arts (SECCA) launched an ambitious undertaking, with the goal of nothing less than re-imagining affordable housing. SECCA invited architects from around the world to submit housing designs that were inexpensive and easy to build, but also artistically compelling and environmentally friendly. SECCA’s Home House Project was a smashing success. But over 15 years later, here in Winston, we have little more than a modest new park on Second Street and a remarkable book by MIT Press to show for SECCA’s efforts to produce a blueprint for innovative, affordable housing units. In the end, SECCA’s efforts to rewrite the rules of affordable housing was no more successful than R.J. Reynolds’ efforts to produce and market a smokeless cigarette in the late 1980s.

Avoiding Eviction Shouldn’t Be A Game Of Chance

“I’m one step away from being the person on the street.”  -Cleveland Avenue Resident

Lots of folks enjoy games of chance, even though they know that the odds are stacked against them. Such games are a mainstay of the Dixie Classic Fair. Beating the odds, taking home a silly prize, that’s the game. And that’s great if you’re fifteen and want to impress your girlfriend to such an extent, that you’re willing to leave the fair with empty pockets. But, none of us would tolerate having a good or service that we desperately need being reduced to a game of chance.

Winston-Salem City Council Meeting Merry-Go-Round: Much Debate Over UDO-283

Monday night’s City Council meeting starting with a surprise, the exact date of Derwin Montgomery’s resignation. As the Journal’s Wesley Young pointed out on social media, Montgomery will retire from the Winston-Salem City Council one day prior to elections. Officially giving Mr. Montgomery just a few hours off before he begins his work in the North Carolina General Assembly. After Derwin’s announcement and speech to the Council, the meeting progressed quickly, with several zoning petitions being approved with no opposition and little debate. Then UDO-283, the Unified Development Ordinance that has been bouncing around our city and county government for approximately a year, finally came before the full City Council.

City Council Is Poised To Fund The Peters Creek Initiative

The Winston-Salem City Council has a full agenda tonight, replete with the usual giveaways, including hundreds of thousands of dollars for a development one mile south of BB&T Ballpark. And nearly an equal amount for a parking deck in the Wake Forest University Innovation Quarter. [scribd id=388761380 key=key-crMcgfyr3tb861qWZt2v mode=scroll]

Those two locations; BB&T Ballpark and the WF Innovation Quarter are already the site of the City of Winston-Salem’s most notorious money pits. The city shouldn’t continue to subsidize the WFIQ. Let Wake Forest pay for its development.

HAWS Is Making Life Difficult For Cleveland Avenue Residents

 

 

 

Monday I sat down and interviewed a resident of the Cleveland Avenue Homes. Tuesday I stumbled upon an old copy of The Black Panther newspaper dated March 1970. It’s the one with the Winston-Salem chapter of the Black Panther Party on the front page.*

The black power newspaper has an image of local Panthers, led by Larry Little assisting Miss Polly Graham. Graham had been unjustly evicted from her home. The Winston-Salem chapter of the Black Panther Party put Miss Polly Graham’s possessions back in her home and posted two men with shotguns at her front door.

Charlottesville: Fascist Thugs Will Assault Black Folks In The Streets, But White Liberals Will Take House And Home

This weekend is the one-year anniversary of Battle of Charlottesville. Everyone reading this article remembers the events of last August in Charlottesville; a college town that will forever be associated with Thomas Jefferson, like Winston-Salem will always be associated with R.J. Reynolds. Gun-toting nazis and fascist white supremacists of various stripes in the streets of Charlottesville were a reminder of how relatively little progress our country has made combatting racism. America is still a violent and racist nation. God bless the Antifa activists that confronted the fascists.