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News :: Baltimore MD : Civil & Human Rights : Class : Economy : Poverty

Grandmother Bitten by a Rat

“This is criminal. No once should be forced to live like this," says APC organizer Renee Washington. "We are demanding that the Housing Administration of Baltimore City immediately place this family in decent housing. We will organize the community and march.”

Dorothy Steele, a soft-spoken 72-year-old grandmother whose smile could light up any room, was bitten by a rat recently as she tried to sleep on her couch in the living room of her public housing apartment. Steele lives in the McCulloh Homes housing project in Baltimore City.
Dorothy Steele

It is painful to listen to her account of the attack. But it is also evident that Steele is a person ready to fight back. She explains with pride and anger that she has paid her rent every month and that this is an injustice.

The All Peoples Congress (APC)—a community group that has been active in fighting against police brutality and the war in Iraq([search])—toured her home photographing numerous violations. These included exposed electrical wiring, gaping holes in the ceilings and throughout the apartment, rat and mice infestation and broken plumbing.

The APC and Steele’s family called a press conference in her home on Feb. 2 to show the news media the conditions that she and her three adult grandchildren were forced to live in. She and her family were sick and tired of making appeals to the Housing Authority of Baltimore City.

For three years the family has made requests that their grandmother be moved to housing that was decent and accessible for the disabled. Because of a stroke, Steele is physically frail and must presently stay downstairs on a couch. The family has records of their requests. They have also complained constantly about the conditions of the housing and the problems with rats.

After interviewing Steele, television crews were given a tour of the home. There was no functioning electricity or lighting in the upstairs. Smoke detectors were not working. In the bathroom a dead mouse floated next to the broken toilet. The downstairs ceiling had a huge gaping hole. The news media could see where the family had desperately lined up boxes of clothes and personal items to barricade the edges of the downstairs rooms to try to keep the rats from getting in through the holes.

Renee Washington, an APC organizer, was also interviewed. She stated, “This is criminal. No once should be forced to live like this. We are demanding that the Housing Administration of Baltimore City immediately place this family in decent housing. We will organize the community and march.”

Steele’s grandson pointed out at the press conference that the city had managed to spend money to put cameras on all of the buildings to spy on residents but has done nothing to solve the problems of rats. The city can help fund a war in Iraq but can’t help people here. He took notes during the meeting and offered to help organize residents to picket and march.

If you live in Baltimore and would like to help win justice for the Steele family, call (410) 235-7040 or email apcbaltimore (at)

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Commentary :: Children : Civil & Human Rights : Gender and Sexuality : Right Wing : U.S. Government

Michael Steele Stem Cell Comment Is Dobsonite Cult Dogma

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Review :: Activism : Culture : Media : Miscellaneous : Protest Activity

Riot Folk Converge from Across the Country

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Commentary :: War in Iraq

Cindy Sheehan: “Bush’s Presidency Is Illegitimate!”

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Commentary :: Elections & Legislation

Why the “Free State” of Maryland Isn’t So “Free!”

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Commentary :: Activism : Baltimore MD : Culture : Economy : Globalization

Limiting Corporate Power on Hampden's Avenue

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Announcement :: Civil & Human Rights : Media : Peace : Protest Activity : U.S. Government

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News :: Baltimore MD

National Security Agency mounted massive spy op on Baltimore peace group, documents show

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