By Terrence McCoy, The Washington Post
Her mother told her to always maintain poise, no matter the indignity, so she awoke early to prepare for a day she thought would be full of it. She put on a purple blouse — her favorite color — dabbed her face with makeup, then sprayed herself with a $10 perfume called Winter Candy Apple. She stepped across an apartment bereft of furniture, unsure if it would be her last morning there. Any day now, the U.S. Marshals Service could arrive, deposit her few possessions on the street and leave her homeless.
“I’m worried,” Brittany Gray told a reporter, taking a deep breath as she left Brookland Manor, a labyrinthine, Depression-era development perched along Rhode Island Avenue NE. She had arisen that morning feeling ill and didn’t know what to expect when she got to where she was going. “Do I go in there and ask for a lawyer or something?”
It was half past 9 when she reached the District’s landlord and tenant court, the city’s busiest chambers, where tens of thousands of cases are churned through every year. In a metropolis of surging rents and posh condominiums, the debts cited can easily soar into five figures.READ ARTICLE