51 Comment

  • More interesting than a lot of recent construction. Better quality design than the usual “luxury condo”.

  • Looks great and provides a much needed service. Ultimate success will be determined by how well it is run and executed.

  • Yeah. More permanent public assistance housing, just the thing Columbia Heights needs.

    • Agreed…

      As if the ~700 units of publicly run housing within a 3 block radius of this wasn’t enough. I am not saying that I want the city to build more, but if they were going to, there are two huge public housing facilities in CH (both within two blocks) that have lots of build-able capacity left per zoning. Heck, one has nearly two acres of parking lot servicing the facility they could build on. Sacrificing prime, above metro station real estate for something like this is mind blowing.

      • …and they want to add MORE in the old jewish home on Spring St. Why does Columbia Hts have to have so much public housing?

      • CH is the city’s dumping ground.

        • other neighborhoods feel the same way. ivy city, truxton circle, etc… but really, people are not garbage to be disposed of.

        • Ummm I think most of EoTR is the city’s dumping ground. By comparison, CH has it pretty good.

      • Except it is not public housing. It is privately owned and privately managed. And while the residents are not high income, they tend to have higher incomes that public housing residents.

        • I think that it’s great that this development is there- permanent supportive housing (PSH) in metro accessible areas is a very good thing, imo. One correction to your statement, though, is that this is PSH, which usually means those with more acute needs than the general assisted population, such as the chronically homeless population. I could be wrong about this particular development, though.

      • Well, ignoring the location issue, here’s what I say:

        Blame not those who need to live in public assistance housing. Nor those who build it.

        Blame those who develop/build/buy/rent any housing unit that goes for, say, over $1500 a bedroom.

        Seems blaming the needy or those who provide housing for the needy is blaming the victim.

    • Would you prefer they build impermanent housing? Perhaps tents?

      • I would prefer a few things.

        1. For DC to cease being a haven for every unemployable, abused, and / or taxpayer reliant person in the region. If last winters debacle with DC having to pay for hotel rooms for every person who didn’t want to shack up with a friend or family member taught us anything, these policies are a “build it and they will come” mentality. If I was perpetually unemployed, lacked housing etc, DC would be my destination this side of the Rocky Mountains. Heck, DC is still the ONLY jurisdiction in the nation, (state or city) that didn’t put a 5 year limit on welfare benefits in the late 90’s. The result, DC has the largest per capita populations of welfare recipients of any major city in the nation outside of Detroit, 35% of those receiving have been doing so for more than 7 years. 10% more than 9 years. Safety nets are fine, but when your laws are all carrot and no stick, this is what you get.

        2. Second, and this is more specific to this example. DC has tons of cheap land. It is a complete waste of public resources, and develop able potential to take a lot with some of the greatest residential values in the city, and build this instead.

        3. Columbia Heights has more than its fair share of “drunk all day”, drug selling, urinating on themselves, screaming at passerby, trash throwing folks than 3 neighborhoods should have. That area at 14th and Irving is some of the worst in the city. Adding more of that demographic to that intersection is pure lunacy.

        • I don’t think that it’s true that “dc has tons of cheap land.” I’m curious why you believe that to be a true statement.

          • Why? Because I don’t limit my search to within 3 blocks of a metro stop.

            I suggest a perusal of redfin when you get a chance. Entire swaths of NE DC bounded by North Cap, Florida, Benning and RI Ave is some of the cheapest land in the city, currently un or underdeveloped, nearly 18 square miles of land.

            Parts of SE and SW are the same. Sure, they aren’t literally above a metro stop, but when you are unemployed, I am not seeing the problem.

          • It’s not a true statement. Just because the city owns land does not make that land “cheap”.

        • I am glad that individuals and families living and seeking services in permanent supportive housing are part of the neighborhood. You, on the other hand… Geesh.

        • I’d be interested to see how many of these people you seem to think are streaming into the region are actually from the District or adjacent jurisdictions.- I bet it’s 90%+. What stick is going to be sufficient for a population of low-skilled individuals, especially those with substance abuse or mental health issues, to create jobs for themselves that otherwise don’t exist?

          Call me crazy, but I don’t think the problem is that we as a city devote too many resources to these “unemployable, abused, and / or taxpayer reliant” persons.

    • This NIMBYism about low income housing is absurd.

    • This was a shelter before – transitional housing is definitely an improvement

    • For those of us who are new around here, there was a shelter there before this was built, and it was torn down to make room for this. If you had visited that shelter before, you would be grateful for this for a multitude of reasons.

  • The question is why the city is committed to economic segregation? why is this area? How many low income units are built in upper NW? the answer is none. And yes the City does own properties it could built low income housing on. the Tenley library was designed and built to potentially add 4-6 stories of additional housing on top in the futre. But you think the folks in Tenley town are going to let the city built very low income housing in their neigbhrohood? future redevelopment projects include the lbiraries at Cleveland Park, Chevy Chase and Palisades. All of those should have affordable housing on top. But the Council doesn’t want to take on the rich white folks in those areas of town. Its a fact.

    • But I thought our neighbors in Tenley, Cleveland Park, Chevy Chase and Palisades were all also liberal, caring Dems, too? What gives with this?

  • It actually looks better than the Highland Park Apts next door! LOL.

  • Looking foward to more “drunk all day”, drug selling, urinating on themselves, screaming at passerby, trash throwing folks than 3 neighborhoods should have. That area at 14th and Irving is some of the worst in the city. Adding more of that demographic to that intersection is pure lunacy.

    Just what we need. We won’t be able to see the sidewalk for all of the trash that will be on the ground all the time now.

    • I do wish that MPD cracked down on open containers in the Columbia Heights area, and at least made an effort to keep people from openly doing drugs outside of the CVS and next to the Potbelly’s. Not only would this cut down on the vast amounts of garbage strewn about, but hopefully would send a signal that breaking the law won’t be tolerated. However, I have my doubts that anything will happen. This reminds me of The Wire episode in which the police finally decide to crack down on open containers, but turn out just to upset certain demographics.

  • I like the way the building turned out. That said, it’s preposterous that the city would build more public housing in Columbia Heights. Do you ever wonder why we have such high crime in Columbia Heights? It’s because of the public housing and the type of environment it fosters. Let’s see our council have the balls to put some of this in upper NW.

  • I am as progressive as they come but I have to agree that there is enough subsidized housing in Columbia Heights. I recently left largely due to this issue. The city not only concentrates these dwellings in Columbia Heights but it also passes laws making it impossible to hold those who live in them responsible for their criminal or even just nuisance conduct. The vast majority of people who live in these dwellings are good people trying to raise a family. Let’s be clear, I want to support those neighbors who need help and who are pulling themselves up from poverty. However, there are enough of those living on the taxpayers dole while pissing in public, and stealing, stabbing, shooting, bullying their way through their communities, with impunity from DC gov. They will never be evicted. This I know.

    I have heard people say before that homeowners are also subsidized because they get the income tax deduction, should they also be evicted if they engage in conduct in misdemeanor or felony conduct. Let me just say that the argument is so specious, it does not deserve consideration. Homeowners pay their mortgages and are quickly evicted if they cease to do so, as unfortunate as that is to happen. Furthermore, public policy has made it an imperative to reward homeownership. It’s proven that owning a home promotes stable communities and members who are engaged in the well being of their neighborhoods. Most people agree that criminality is not a behavior that should be rewarded. Criminality does not build strong neighborhoods, nor does it promote stable familes. Yet those in DC govt continue to reward this behavior, and it is at the detriment of the entire community. Good luck, DC govt with that approach. I’m grateful I had the financial means to pick up my modest resources and move elsewhere.

    • Please come to the next hearing about the Hebrew Home!!! Columbia Hts We need to slow down this amount of low income housing in CH

  • That fancy building was built for (basically) homeless people? My mind is completely blown. Just as it is basically every day when I walk out of my nice condo building to see the sidewalk covered in trash, a bum passed out in the bushes, some asshole peeing behind the metro entrance, a crazy guy screaming nonsense, kids smoking weed, and people begging for money. Yup, more govt supported homeless people is exactly what Columbia Heights needs.

    And no, Tenleytown or other high rent districts don’t need it either.

  • There is supportive family housing and their is supportive Single Room Occupancy SRO. This is a bunch of SRO’s. Its going to be good and fun and progressive for the neighborhood until someone gets raped. Put this shit in Georgetown or someone where else in Upper Caucasia.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I like the way it looks, but it will looked dated in about 5 years. But after about 30 it will be cool again.

  • How can I get more info about this project? As a (female) recent CH resident, that walks by herself often, this story it a bit scary, specially if it single room occupancy for men..

    • I am also a female (and 5 ft) who lives around there, and nope there is nothing we can do. I understand your concern and can only throw us a pity party. Some will say you should just smile when they tell you to and say hello to your neighbors who are much bigger than you, drunk/drugged, pissing, yelling, and harassing. You’re supposed to say hello to your “neighbors”.

  • I’m not understanding all the hate going on in this comments section. One of the best parts of Columbia Heights is its diversity of incomes and people – if you don’t like it, move, there are lots of other luxury apartments to choose from now. As for it being on top of the metro – that’s probably pretty helpful for folks looking for work/ dealing with health issues/ having lots of little children/ being elderly. It’s incredibly refreshing to see the city showing that they care enough to put this type of building right on the street, in a prime location, instead of hidden away in a derelict corner – giving these men a reason to have some pride in themselves as well as their new home. As a single woman I have to be concerned wherever I go, but as a DC resident I am very proud of this development and am really curious to see how this all goes.

    Have a little compassion people. You live in a diverse and incredible city – focus more on how lucky you are and less on the newspaper that you sidestepped this morning.

    • Aaaargh to “If you don’t like it, move.”
      I don’t live in Columbia Heights, but I can understand how Columbia Heights residents would be frustrated with the current levels of litter, public drunkenness, public urination, etc. and concerned that this facility might make things even worse.

    • Can’t tell if serious… If so, let me know where I can get that kool-aid. I guess I’m lucky that I’ve only had 2 bikes stolen and my car broken into, instead of being mugged at gunpoint or physically attacked like some others. I’ll be lucky when the shitty condo developer fixes our place and we can sell it and move out of CoHi. But no, I do not feel lucky that the city is forcing more vagrants into our area, while doing nothing to stop the crime and lawlessness that our area is clearly known for.

      • Only someone who is completely ignorant about La Casa and permanent supportive housing would make such bigoted assumptions about the people who will live there, equating them with “vagrants” and “criminals.” No one denies the pain and frustration of your experiences, but it is a unjustified and ignorant leap to think they are caused by PSH.

    • “It’s incredibly refreshing to see the city showing that they care enough to put this type of building right on the street, in a prime location, instead of hidden away in a derelict corner”
      You’re kidding, right? There are multiple, large public housing complexes in Columbia Heights – lilterally hundreds of units. All of them “right on the street, in a prime location.”

  • Dan is gone for ONE DAY and the comments section goes to *&%$.

    • Meaning what exactly? That people are daring to voice opinions you don’t agree with? Frankly, as a CH resident, I find the comments to be amazing refreshing and evidence that the entire world has not lost its mind.

    • This thread seems to me to have stayed pretty civil, actually (although perhaps Dan is doing some limited moderation from afar).

  • The building was part of the deal Donatelli got to build the condo’s on that corner… wasn’t it? So this was planned in conjuncture with the condo’s next door to it. This is studio apts for chronically homeless and those with mental illnesses (with preference to US veterans). There will be assistance, therapy and will hopefully take men out of shelters and give them housing stability, which is vital for maintaining mental health and combating drug/drink abuse (that often plague homeless with mental health issues).

    Good for La Casa to have gotten this completed. I did not think it was ever going to happen.

  • PoP, could you include information on what transitional housing means at this facility? I have volunteered with another similar facility – and what you DON”T get is residents drunk drunk, shouting, fighting, and/or peeing all over the place because there are strict rules, drug tests, and people get kicked out if they break them.

    Mental health services and recovery programs are a mandatory part of it.

    Will that be the case here?

    My experience is that facilities like this bring a much more peaceful environment than drop in shelters with more liberal rules … I don’t live in DC any more but when I did, churches offering “drop in” service for meals also tended to collect some crazies/dangerous folks. Not saying it has to be this way, but a facility that makes an effort to help people get better rather than just house or feed them is a lot different.

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