(Updated at 4:16 p.m.) Though the D.C. Council voted yesterday to alter Mayor Muriel Bowser’s plan to close the D.C. General homeless shelter and open seven smaller shelters across the District, some Ward 1 residents remain skeptical.
Under the new plan initially approved by the D.C. Council, the city would build the new shelters on city-owned land as opposed to private land, meaning a change of location for three of the five proposed shelters. Though the proposed site of the Ward 1 shelter won’t change, the city will now work toward purchasing the land at 10th and V streets NW instead of leasing it as originally planned.
D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, an advocate of the proposed Ward 1 shelter, said in a statement the revised plan “responds to residents’ concerns and is much more fiscally responsible than the Mayor’s original plan.”
“Purchasing will save millions of tax dollars over the original plan to lease the land and will give the District permanent ownership of each site,” Nadeau continued. “Additionally, I introduced an amendment to today’s legislation that will hold the Ward 1 property owner accountable for any back taxes owed on vacant property that was misclassified. This was a very important issue for several of our nearby constituents, and I’m glad we have been able to address it.”
But members of a vocal protest group opposing the shelter remain skeptical of the deal despite the changes.
The activists up in arms over the District’s plan to place up to 30 families in transitional housing at 2105-2107 10th St. NW are not getting any quieter.
Members of a protest group in opposition to the shelter spoke out during a design overview meeting at the Reeves Center at 14th and U streets last night. Among the group’s chief concerns were claims that city officials entered into an above-market-rate bid specifically to benefit developer Sorg Architects.
Though the District is moving forward with plans to build its new Ward 1 transitional housing facility at 10th and V streets NW, that wasn’t the only site it considered.
According to information released by Mayor Bowser’s office yesterday, the city also considered building its new shelter in Park View (625 Park Rd. NW; 3619 Georgia Ave. NW) and Adams Morgan (1724 Kalorama Ave. NW). Additionally, the city also looked at constructing its Ward 2 shelter for women in Dupont Circle (1606 17th St., NW).
Ultimately, those plans fell through due to a variety of reasons that included sites not being large enough and unsuccessful negotiations with developers. (more…)
It’s no secret that Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposal to place up to 29 families in transitional housing at 2105-2107 10th St. NW has prompted some questions from neighbors.
As part of her plan to close DC General, Bowser seeks to build new housing at several sites across the city, including one on a lot about two blocks west of the 9:30 Club at 10th and V streets NW. Bowser is looking to use the land for a “modern building [that] will complement the look and feel of the neighborhood,” according to a handout from the mayor’s office. In addition to apartment-style housing, the facility is slated to have playground and recreation space, a computer lab for residents, a common dining area and ongoing support services and programming for families. (more…)
Mayor Muriel Bowser last night had tough words for critics of her plan to put homeless families in a new facility near the U Street corridor, telling locals their community has a responsibility to help the District’s poor.
Speaking before more than 100 residents crowded into a room inside the YMCA Anthony Bowen, Bowser defended her proposal to place up to 29 families in transitional housing at 2105-2107 10th St. NW by 2018 under her plan to close the D.C. General homeless shelter.
The property at 10th and V streets NW, which is about two blocks west of the 9:30 Club, currently includes an unused church and a vacant lot. But Bowser is looking to use the land for a “modern building [that] will complement the look and feel of the neighborhood,” according to a handout from the mayor’s office. In addition to apartment-style housing, the facility is slated to have playground and recreation space, a computer lab for residents, a common dining area and ongoing support services and programming for families.
Ward 1 residents are asking questions and sharing some concerns about a new transitional housing facility slated for construction in a currently vacant lot at 10th and V streets NW.
The new housing facility near the U Street corridor was announced yesterday in D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s plan to close DC General. When fully constructed by 2018, the new units near the U Street corridor (2105-2107 10th St. NW) will house approximately 30 families and will include playground and recreation space, a computer lab for residents, a common dining area and ongoing support services and programming for families.
But some residents — namely those that live nearby — seem to be wary of the deal. (more…)
The center will be replaced by short-term family housing facilities across all eight wards, Bowser said in a press conference before the D.C. Council earlier this morning. (more…)
Officials from the D.C. Department of Human Services (DHS), Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services (MOCRS) and Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) will meet with Ward 2 residents tonight to discuss homeless encampments in the area.
The meeting will take place in Foggy Bottom at St. Mary’s Court, (725 24th Street NW) and will start at 7 p.m.
Keylin Rivera, the mayor’s Ward 2 community liaison, says the meeting is meant to be a general informational session for residents to learn more about Ward 2’s homeless encampments and what the city is doing about them.
Attendees are encouraged to RSVP.
From Joey Gavrilovich. Follow him on Twitter @joeygDC, email him at joey[AT]borderstan.com
Affordable housing in DC could fairly be described as a collective pipe dream: residents agree that it is a must-have, yet there is also broad resignation that it will probably never happen. Housing seems to affect everyone in the District, from young singles clustered in group houses to families crammed into one- and two-bedroom apartments.
Most affected are the District’s homeless, numbering at least 6,954 individuals, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments‘ 2012 point-in-time count.
The political will behind making housing affordable was apparent during Mayor Vincent Gray’s State of the District address last Tuesday, as his administration’s $100 million housing commitment garnered a standing ovation and the most applause of any initiative announced.
But given that the DC Housing Authority’s waiting list for aid tops 67,000 applicants, the mayor’s one-time investment in 10,000 units falls well short of present and ongoing demand.
That housing for all is seen by many as a pie in the sky idea is understandable, yet Amber Harding sees it differently. Harding is a staff attorney with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, a 26-year-old organization operating out of U Street’s storied True Reformer Building since 2003. Harding and her colleagues believe DC has the means to permanently end homelessness.
“It seems daunting,” says Harding, who regularly provides comprehensive legal services to homeless individuals throughout the District, “but if we start taking steps and prioritizing populations that are most in need, it is completely feasible to end homelessness in DC in a matter of years.”
Prioritizing seniors and people living with HIV/AIDS is a practical and necessary first step, says Harding, who testified in January before the Interagency Council on Homelessness, saying that an annual commitment of up to $10 million would permanently end homelessness among these populations.
“Public funding will continue to go toward our most vulnerable citizens,” said Harding in a follow-up interview with Borderstan, “and the difference between responding to homelessness and actually ending homelessness lies in how those dollars are applied. Rental vouchers paired with housing first for our most vulnerable citizens costs so much less than the dollars constantly going into shelter and ER services and other public systems that come into play as a result of people not having housing.”
Harding cites the Obama Administration’s successes with housing homeless veterans and former Mayor Fenty’s stalled work toward ending chronic homelessness in the District as precedents. Looking beyond the most vulnerable, her goal is to make clear to policy makers that “providing people with the space necessary to maintain their health, obtain their education, and find the right job, along with the other things that generate self-sufficiency, is the proven, humane and most cost-effective intervention to chronic homelessness.”
Harding adds that ensuring quality of life is also key, citing a recent study which concluded that one’s housing stability is linked to the amount of privacy in their living space, and in particular, their bathroom.
That should get no argument from any DC resident who has ever lived in a group house.