- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 6, 2002

More than 2,100 residences in the District lack hot and cold running water, or a flush toilet, or a tub or shower, according to data gathered in the 2000 census.
Almost 0.9 percent of the District's 248,338 occupied residences lack complete plumbing systems, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The District ranks sixth in the country for the highest percentage of residences with incomplete indoor plumbing, tying with Kentucky, Mississippi and Maine. Alaska ranked No. 1, with 6.3 percent of its residences lacking complete plumbing systems.
The report drew criticism yesterday from the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which inspects and regulates buildings and housing in the District.
"I don't know where the Census Bureau is getting that information. I don't know who they interviewed," said DCRA spokeswoman Gina Douglass. "We are not getting the complaints that would even remotely suggest that D.C. is anywhere near the top 10."
"As far as I know, we don't have outhouses in the District of Columbia," she said.
Jeanne Woodward, spokeswoman for the housing division of the Census Bureau, said the agency distributed a long-form questionnaire to about one-sixth of the District's occupied housing units. The long form included the question, "Do you have complete plumbing facilities, including hot and cold pipe water, a flush toilet, and a tub or shower?"
Of the approximately 41,389 residences that were surveyed, the Census Bureau received responses from 24,833 housing units a 60 percent response rate.
Of those responses, 2,112 answered that they did not have complete plumbing.
Homeless persons are not included in housing statistics and are listed as living in group quarters, according to the Census Bureau.
William Knox, an official with the D.C. Housing Authority, which runs the city's public-housing system, said housing units lacking complete plumbing facilities must be private residences, not public housing.
The Housing Authority has retrofitted and upgraded its 9,500 public-housing units since 1995, Mr. Knox said.
"There are no residents of public housing who do not have a toilet, who do not have a shower, or running water," he said.
The District was not on the top 10 list of jurisdictions without plumbing after the 1990 census.
Virginia, which is not on the 2000 census' top 10 list, had been near the top of the list after the 1990 census, with 1.8 percent of its occupied housing units lacking complete plumbing. The state tally decreased from 46,119 residences without adequate plumbing to 19,550 or 0.7 percent.
Maryland also decreased its number of housing units without full plumbing, from 12,685 in the 1990 census to 9,033, in the 2000 census.
The District's decreased from 2,250 in 1990 to 2,112 in 2000.
A researcher at Auburn University told the Associated Press that the reasons for the decline are twofold. Many poor people are moving into trailer homes, he said, and those come with commodes installed.
In addition, many county governments are extending water lines to outlying areas that were previously unreachable.


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