“Is a $1065 Brand New Studio really Affordable Housing?”

3145 Mt. Pleasant St, NW

@bgneumeyer tweets us:

“New “affordable housing” in Mt. Pleasant seems at pricepoint for college-educated paralegals, maybe?”

The Craigslist ad says:

“AFFORDABLE BRAND NEW STUDIO APARTMENTS IN MOUNT PLEASANT @ $1,065/Month. 3145 Mount Pleasant Street, NW. Newly Renovated. Energy Efficient. Walk to Columbia Heights Metro, buses, Restaurants, Shopping. Income Restrictions Apply. For single person, MAX Income of $44,940, MIN Income of $36,514.”

Ed. Note: This is the recently reopened Monseñor Romero Apartments, formerly the Deauville that burned down 6 1/2 years ago.

44 Comment

  • brookland_rez

    That’s totally doable. As an example, $40k gross works out to about $2000/month net. In an area like that you don’t need a car. You still have almost $1000 for groceries and what not.

  • Depends on how much is “included” in that $1065. If you’re paying all utilities + your smart phone charges + student loan debt, maybe not. Then again, if you can split that rent with a room mate . . . that would be one really crowded studio.

    • Since when is a smartphone a necessity? I have never used one in my life. Ditch them and save a bundle. TV too!

      • Please tell us more Grandpa. Tell us about when milk used to be a nickel when you were growing up

        • Milk is bad for you too.

        • brookland_rez

          LOL. My smartphone would be the last thing I would get rid of. If I had to cut something, it would be TV service. That is completely unnecessary these days, because of high speed internet and smart phones/tablets.

        • I think is Grandpa’s point might be that we shouldn’t exactly feel sorry for someone complaining that they can’t afford housing when they are paying a $100 a month smartphone bill. Ditch the non-essentials (and no matter how much whining you do, smart phones, while handy, are non-essential), and then see if you can afford the rent.

          Not to mention there are cheaper places further out…(yet still metro accessible).

          • You can get a smartphone that is pay as you go for $50-$80 per month. It is not a huge expense. In fact I would even argue that it is essential as it provides a basic internet connection, which is essential, even when one does not have a landline one.
            Cable…not essential, a smartphone is. One does not need an iPhone, a basic android would do, but a smartphone is correctly being identified as essential.

          • Just go the library around the corner. Internet service for free! And don;t you have the Internet at work? For free? Why do you “need” a cellphone? Put the money in the bank. Where’s my walker?!

  • Or a couple making minimum wage. DC’s an expensive place to live. You’re not going to see $500/month studios in Central DC.

  • justinbc

    Considering that I get more than that from DC gov’t for the one Section 8 tenant I have in a 550 sqft unit, I would say yes, in this city that’s affordable.

  • Um, yeah. $1,065 for an apt in Mt Pleasant is CHEAP.

  • So, based on min and max income numbers, they are mandating that residents pay 30-35% of pre-tax income on housing, which is at the upper bound of what most advisors/experts consider appropriate. Certainly a good price for the neighborhood, but not necessarily a good financial decision with that income, depending on other expenses.

    • brookland_rez

      I would guess that “experts” also expect you to owning/driving a car. That would indeed be a stretch. Not having that expense makes this affordable.

      • +1. Alpine, compare what most Americans spend on transportation (I think it’s something like 12%) versus what people in close-in, walkable urban neighborhoods spend (could be very close to zero if you live in MTP and bike).

    • I believe that the 30% cut off is actually defined as “affordable housing”.

  • For a completely brand new studio? Yes, I think that’s a fair price. I paid almost that much for a run-down studio in Capitol Hill, complete with mice and cockroaches.

  • Anonynon

    I make 55k, all these affordable places exclude people like me (college educated early in career) but all the other housing is not ‘afforadble’ and then the places that might be on the uppper bound of what i could afford chances are someone making 60k is taking that as ‘affordable’. Sigh.

    • brookland_rez

      It’s tough in that range. Too much for affordable housing, too little to afford anything at market rate. Your best option is to do the roommate thing. Or buy in an up and coming area (with roommates).

      • Anonynon

        Yeah i think I lucked out…have a good apartment (minus the barely any sunlight for about $1,100 near 14th and florida) in a safe clean building. I guess i am stuck here…there is literally NOTHING out there to move to…just hope the rent doesn’t get raised too much

  • The issue with this place is that it will probably go to a recent college grad from the upper-middle class who is making $40K right now and has high income potential as their career progresses. But the government won’t continue to means test the resident into the future, thus providing them with a windfall apartment for life. That’s problematic.
    Regardless, that’s a cheap price for a brand new studio in Mt. P.
    You’re more likely to find that as the market price in Brookland for a studio.

    • What makes you think that this is the tenant who will get the building? What makes you think that those with upper-middle income upbringings will not work in industries that don’t pay much?

    • Right on all counts. I’ll add that it’s also problematic that the “recent college grad from the upper-middle class who is making $40K right now” is eligible at all for income restricted housing. In my mind, that is not who the program was intended to benefit.

  • Just wondering–won’t priority be given to the families who were displaced from this building after the fire? I’m sure some of them landed on their feet but there must be others who are still in limbo.

    • WaPo coverage (I think last summer? Can’t remember) has indicated that a nearly unprecedented percentage of the former residents are moving in. But there are still units left over.

  • Considering I live about 2 blocks from there and pay about $1500 for my studio… I’d jump on that. My utilities are included but that’s still a lot cheaper!

  • That’s close to what I was paying for my above-ground bare-bones studio in a comparable neighborhood back in 2005. Straight out of college and all I wanted was a place that was safe and conveniently located. I did a ton of research beforehand, and $1000 was the starting point for an apartment that met that criteria. That’s an incredibly good price considering it’s almost a decade later.

  • Priority already went to the displaced families. They will be paying the INSANELY cheap rents they had before the fire, while the new residents will subsidize them with marginally cheap rents (if they manage to find anyone in that crazily narrow income range to fill the spot).
    Meanwhile the millions and millions DC spent on temporary housing for these folks will help, someone?

    • There are probably 30 people at my non-profit organization alone whose salaries fall into that range. I don’t think it’s crazily narrow. This sounds like a decent deal to me – I remember paying $650 in rent back when I was making $23,000 (in the mid-90’s). It’s what you do if you want to live in the city on a entry-level, first job out of college salary.

      • “It’s what you do if you want to live in the city on a entry-level, first job out of college salary.”
        Actually, most people who want affordable housing live with roommates in a group house.
        Your own place right out of college in central DC is a luxury.

        • Well, $650 was my share of a 2 bedroom 1 bath that I shared with a roommate. I’m just pointing out that many young people at that stage of life spend above 30% of their salary on housing. I remember being so excited when I got to the point that I could pay my rent out of just one of my two paychecks per month.

  • Tsar of Truxton

    My monthly student loan payment is more than this studio…le sigh.

    • my god. what did you study and where?

      • Tsar of Truxton

        State school for undergrad, private school for law school. At 50k+ a year, law school will rack up the loans fast. As someone from “privileged upper-middle class family,” parental income counted against me for grant/need based financial aid even if they are not (could not) afford to pay for grad school. Not complaining, but for those lumping upper-middle class offspring into some super privileged group, there are some serious downsides as well.

        • damn. that’s a lot of burden. i hope you have a great paying job now!

        • Yes, it sure is tough coming from a privileged upper middle class family. If only there were some alternatives you could have pursued – being forced to pay for private law school at $50k each year is a crime. It’s a crime that you had absolutely no choice in the matter and are now forced with that unavoidable debt.
          Wait . . .

  • SFT

    I can’t believe the fire was 6 1/2 years ago. Where did the time go!?! I remember walking to the bus stop the following morning and seeing the burnout. I really never thought they’d get around to refurbishing the building, but it looks like they did a nice job. Wonder if they’ll ever restore the northbound Kenyon St bus stop for the 42/43?

  • Yes it is. I 2004 my salary was $36k a year, I lived in a $1100 a month studio in southern california – with a car of course. This is great for a fresh face recent grad making $40K in DC that does not need a car and does not want a roommate.

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