Should More Development Cost 'Mama' Her Home?

A developer wants to raze the old Buckingham Village apartments in Arlington County, to replace them with pricey new townhomes. Should "neighborhood guardian" Lillian Veney and her dog, who have lived in the complex for 12 years, be forced out?
May 10, 2006, 8am PDT | David Gest
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"Veney, a retired oyster shucker and maid, was being evicted from the home where she has lived for more than 12 years, where Veney and her friend Marie -- before Marie was evicted, too -- sat guard at Fourth and Thomas streets every day from 2 to 6 p.m."

"In a county that has lost nearly half its affordable apartments in the past five years to redevelopment, Veney's story is a familiar tale. In recent weeks, however, she has become a living emblem for the crusade to save her complex, Buckingham Village. When Veney tells her story at rallies and meetings across the county, even hard-hearted bureaucrats have been moved to tears."

"Veney is 79. Because she lives on $541 a month from Social Security, her world teeters on the brink even on a good day, but now it seems to be collapsing around her. In Buckingham Village, at least she could cope. There's a drugstore and a market and a community center where she volunteers and the mostly Latino clientele call her 'Mama.'"

Thanks to C. P. Zilliacus

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Published on Tuesday, May 9, 2006 in The Washington Post
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