Judging Buildings – Bread For the City Addition

I know we took a look at the Bread for the City addition over the summer but I saw it in person for the first time myself at 1525 7th St, NW this past weekend and I was blown away. Their Web site says:

“Bread for the City offers five program services to low-income residents of Washington, DC: food and clothing distribution, primary medical care, legal advice and representation, and comprehensive social services. All services are free of cost to eligible DC residents, and are provided under one roof in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.

Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and the contributions of thousands in the community, Bread for the City helps more than 10,000 people each month.”

Great building for a great organization.

25 Comment

  • that looks wonderful

  • We here at Bread for the City are super-pleased, too! The building was designed by Wiebenson & Dorman (http://www.wdarchitects.us), who also designed our original facility and our Southeast Center.

    But one of the most exciting aspects of the new facility can’t be seen from the street: we’re going to build a large rooftop community garden up there! Read more here – http://breadforthecity.blogspot.com/2010/10/healthy-rooftop-growing-our-own-food.html

  • More poverty professionals….

    Why not use the money they spent on this hideous addition on actual services???

    They could have easily, and cheaply bought an unused property east of the river, where there is more need for their services, and used the money on services.

    As a liberal, and someone who spends a lot of time helping others, I see stuff like this as a massive waste. It’s more about ego than anything else.

    • would they be less “poverty professionals” if they had “easily, and cheaply bought an unused property east of the river, where there is more need for their services, and used the money on services.”

    • as someone who has volunteered at bread for the city and experienced people having to step all over each other and fight over computers and consultation space (some of which needs to be private like medical screening), I know how badly they needed to expand. this wasn’t ego, it was necessity.

    • As someone invested hundreds of hours providing legal services in that very building (and who has donated almost all his wearable-but-unwanted clothes and baby supplies there over the past 8 years), i can say with all confidence that the space was not adequate to fully serve the population needing assistance at that location.

      The medical clinic offices were cramped and sanitarily compromised, they severely lacked in space for private consultatoins, the clothing room was the size of a narrow walk-in closet, the kitchen was smaller than my home kitchen.

      It was a noble effort in cramped quarters, looking much like those hollywood images of british war-time offices (bicycle mailman going down the hallway, people sitting in every nook and cranny, etc.) and the extention will be put to good use PROVIDING SERVICES TO CLIENTS.

      i haven’t been in the extension yet. Unless i see plush offices, you will be reserved honorary jackass status for that comment.

  • yeah, poor people don’t deserve this.

  • well, not all Bread clients live in SE, and it makes sense to provide services close to where people live and near different metro and bus lines.

    and it’s not possible to spend the money on “actual services” if there’s no space to provide them. The addition has things like an eye clinic and dental clinic–things that can’t be offered in the existing building without cutting out spaces that are already used for other services.

    finally, all nonprofits have to file tax documents that list the salaries of the highest-paid folks. I don’t think any Bread employees are getting rich–certainly most could make more in the private sector.

  • Wow, okay. Well since you (sort of) asked, the main objective of this expansion is to double the size of our medical clinic, which will triple its capacity to provide free health care to the community. (Our medical clinic stopped accepting new patients last year–not because we didn’t have the providers but because we lacked the space to see more patients.) If you’re interested, there’s more detail here: http://breadforthecity.blogspot.com/2010/01/hoping-for-health.html

    We also purchased this unused property ~15 years ago, when there weren’t many others eager to invest in the neighborhood — but we didn’t start on this expansion in Northwest until *after* we’d built a facility in Southeast, right on the border of Anacostia and Fairlawn.

    So there are the facts. In the meantime, I also encourage you to imagine how cramped this original building was, given that it contains one of the city’s largest food pantries, a fully-operational health clinic, a legal clinic with 9 lawyers (up from 3 just a few years ago) and a social services center. This expansion will allow us to continue to grow to meet the need in our community. You’re welcome to come take a tour and see for yourself!

    • it’s sad that you guys do such great and helpful work and get dissed to where you need to defend yourself.

      keep doing what you are doing.

    • Please ignore the intense hostility to the poor and those who devote their lives to trying to help them that plagues this site. As you know, and thankfully, it is not representative of the population of the city. Thank you for your work, and best of luck with the expansion.

  • mmm mmm thats some fine brick work.

  • look at them mullions… mmmm

  • I once read an article about how poorer people are really impressed by greek temples; maybe they should have designed this building to look more like a greek temple.

  • Making sure you turn out.

  • Don’t give flip for the building but I am pleased that Bread for the City has larger quarters.

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