Dear PoP – What is the building at 1436 Irving St, NW

“Dear PoP,

I walk by this building on Irving Street everyday — what is it? All it says on the front is 1436.”

This is a shelter for men run by the Coalition for the Homeless:

“The Coalition operates one low-barrier overnight shelter for homeless men at La Casa Multi-Cultural Center. The shelter operates from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. daily and provides food and overnight shelter to 90 men. Low-barrier shelter is typically the entry point for many homeless men in the District of Columbia’s homeless continuum of care.”

12 Comment

  • The ‘continuum of care’ includes the alley behind this building where many of the guests spend their days drinking rotgut and blubbering to the delight and enchantment of neighbors.

    • Cry me a river.
      move to Ward 3….

      • Maybe I would if I could afford to. There’s an idea. Maybe people should live where they can afford to live.

      • Oh me! Why would I want to move? There is nothing more delightful than seeing a filthy drunkard defecate in one’s petunia patch then roll over and vomit on the sidewalk. Who wouldn’t want to pay taxes to support such scamps? I can barely wait until I have children so I can send them out to play amongst the hobos.

      • Another “people of color are all animals” racist. Nice Bailey, real nice.

  • The city began relocating clients from this shelter about 6 months ago (from a peak of about 70 to about 40 currently, and counting) in preparation for the closure of this building and construction of an all-new, state-of-the-art shelter and treatment facility. The parcel that the shelter is located on was awarded to Donatelli Development, which the developer broke into two phases, Highland Park Phase 1 and 2. The agreement awarding the parcel to the developer stipulated that the developer would fund the design phase and shepherd the building through the approval phase, after which the city would fund the construction phase. From what I understand, the design is complete and the city is preparing for construction.

    Also, the developer is preparing to break ground on Highland Park Phase 2 very shortly, which will add more housing units toward the rear of the parcel, accessed through the main lobby of the original building.

  • And don’t forget lighting the Highland Park fence on fire.

  • It’s basically one big room with 82 cots, plus the trailers on the adjacent lot. Having lived next to it for 20 years I have mixed feelings. I actually know several men who have cycled through there and gone on to sort themselves out.

    But overall it is like living with a big pustulant boil. The men are turned out at 7 a.m. and a large percentage just hang around the area. Urination & defecation everywhere all day – in the window wells of our building, behind our cars, in our washing machines – pretty disgusting.

    But the shelter it isn’t going anywhere. I received 2 letters back in July regarding a notice of intent to file a zoning application from Highland Park West LLC – Case No. 07-02B – square 2672 – 1444 Irving St. NW.

    They had been approved to build a 69 unit “mixed income” residential building and maintain the homeless shelter in the same place. They now want to increase the units from the approved 69 to 141, yet only minimally increase the height of the proposed building from 86 feet to 90 feet and eliminate the proposed 64 parking spaces altogether. (So essentially doubling the number of units in almost the same space.)

    I called the atty. on the letter – Kyrus L. Freeman of Holland & Knight LLP – with questions, but they didn’t seem to know anything other than the application has been filed. They said they would get back to me with more info. but never did.

    I also contacted Jim Graham’s office (July 15) and believe he forwarded my questions to Chris Donatelli, but have heard nothing from them since then.

    So as of now, no one seems to know, or want to tell the public exactly what will be built here, how many apartments will be available at what rents, and what percentage will be accepting Section 8 or other housing assistance vouchers. Will the rentals be handled by the existing Highland Park building or by another agency?

    It appears that the currently existing homeless shelter – will continue with 82 beds but no one will say if the facility will remain as it is now (cots in a big room with the building closed during the day) or will it be more of a supported transitional shelter.

    • My understanding is that the shelter is being replaced with an SRO development (Single Resident Occupancy). So it will no longer be for people who cycle in at night and get kicked out in the morning. Instead each will have his own room and will actually live their while they get their life in order. The mixed income devlopment is separate, I believe. My impression was that it was not going to be Section 8, but maybe I’m wrong. In any case that aalley is disgusting and dangerous and needs to be cleaned up. I’m hopeful that with these changes it will. Updates would be nice.

  • I do not know much about this site, but I suggest calling your ANC representative. They might know what is going on, and have a better chance of responding directly to you. To find your representative: http://www.dcboee.org/candidate_info/anc/anc_page.asp

  • According to the zoning commission notice they are still referring to “an 82 bed community based residential facility (“CBRF”)” No mention of it being an SRO. I actually think SROs are a good idea and much needed in this city – so long as they are small – 10-20 units and evenly distributed in every part of the city. 82 units in one place in a neighborhood already overburdened with “supported” housing is a bit much.

    The public hearing is Sep 30 at 6:30 p.m.

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