“We will replace DC General by developing several short-term family housing facilities across the city.”

10th and v
10th and V St, NW

A few readers report:

“The Mayor will announce plan to construct 30 units of transitional housing for young mothers on the corner of 10th and V NW on the lot owned by Sorg. Will use existing design and city will enter into a 30 year lease. Will announce soon. City community meeting pending.”

You can see a rendering posted by the U Street Neighborhood Association here.


From the Mayor’s Office:

“Last fall, the Council of the District of Columbia voted in support of Mayor Bowser’s plan to close DC General and replace it with small, safe and dignified short-term housing facilities across the District. This morning, Mayor Bowser detailed the next stages of her plan as well as the sites for new short-term family housing facilities in all 8 wards.

“In a city as prosperous as ours, there is no reason we should keep families at DC General. The building is too big, too old and too far removed from the services that get families back on their feet,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “When I ran for Mayor, I heard loud and clear from our residents across our city that our city can – and must – do better. I have been working with the Council on a plan that will create small, short-term family housing. These facilities will be modern, safe and dignified – and will bring us one big step closer to our goal of ending homelessness in the District of Columbia.”

The District’s Department of General Services (DGS) conducted a months-long search to identify suitable sites for the new short-term family housing. DGS looked for spaces that could collectively serve the same number of residents at DC General, with access to services and public transportation. The locations include a mix of District-owned properties, as well as newly purchased or leased private property. They are:

2105-2107 10th Street, NW (Ward 1)
2619 Wisconsin Ave, NW (Ward 3)
5505 Fifth Street, NW (Ward 4)
2266 25th Place, NE (Ward 5)
700 Delaware Ave, SW (Ward 6)
5004 D Street, SE (Ward 7)
6th Street & Chesapeake Street, SE (Ward 8)

On Wednesday, the Mayor will cut the ribbon on a brand new women’s shelter in Ward 2, at 810 5th Street, NW. The innovative facility will accommodate up to 213 women and will replace two outdated facilities at 2nd and D streets, NW.

Each short-term family housing site will accommodate up to 50 families. Unlike DC General, these facilities will have places for children of all ages to play and do homework. They will also include the kind of services and programming that helps families exit shelter and move to permanent housing as soon as possible. In addition to providing safe and dignified short-term housing, Mayor Bowser is committing to making continued investments in the solutions that work to end homelessness—affordable housing, permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing.

This week, the Administration will submit to the Council a package detailing the sites for their approval.

The buildings for the short-term family housing will need to be renovated or built from the ground up. The new sites will begin to open and serve families starting in 2017. The short-term housing for families will be some of the most dignified and innovative in the country. Once they are all in place, the District will close the DC General Family Shelter.”

And from DC.gov’s website:

Replacing DC General with Short-Term Family Housing

The District of Columbia has a plan to end homelessness.  As part of that plan, we will close DC General – a former hospital that has served as the District’s largest family shelter for seven years. DC General is too big, too old and geographically removed from the services that individuals experiencing homelessness need to exit shelter and get back on their feet.  We will replace DC General by developing several short-term family housing facilities across the city.

Click here for a fact sheet with more information on the District’s plan.

Photo by PoPville flickr user Erin

On twitter I also saw a tweet from @DCMeadows saying “plan to locate a 50 bed homeless shelter at Blind Wino property” in SW.

240 Comment

  • Funny that the Ward 2 one is nowhere near the center of the ward, but on the far eastern edge. Jack-o’s looking out for his Georgetown contingent again.

  • Not familiar with the other locations, but there’s a huge one right off the just finally starting to develop section of Kennedy Street. Neighbors are not going to be happy.

    • Was there any public discussion of this, or did they just decide that we weren’t suffering enough?

      • andy

        I like the idea they would put these in small doses in places on the up and up rather than just warehouseing people in another ghetto location. Kennedy Street could be pretty good in that it’s a mix of many things now and growing. I’m also a fan of locations in Wards 1, 2, 3, etc. The whole city is gentrifying, why don’t we mix all sorts of people throughout the whole city?

      • “Weren’t suffering enough” is a rather unfortunate choice of words when you’re preferencing the NIMBY desires of people who decided to move to the Kennedy St area because they thought it might “get better” over homeless women and children. I would think the people who are suffering in this case are not the people with enough disposable income to buy a house in a hot neighborhood.

        • You don’t know anything about me, and so you created a straw man and hung a NIMBY sign around it’s neck. I bought where I could afford, thanks to ridiculously inflated real estate prices. I don’t care whether the neighborhood gets gentrified, I just don’t want to see it get worse.

          • It’s not a straw man if you set it up yourself. You, owning a house in an area that is guaranteed to increase in value no matter what the city does, are talking about your “suffering” in the context of HOMELESS CHILDREN.

    • As someone who cares deeply about Kennedy Street and has been working to improve the street for everyone who lives in the neighborhood, I see the potential for this to be an asset to the community. This is a conversion of a long-standing blighted property to one that will house our neighbors while they get back on their feet. It will also bring support staff to the neighborhood, which will be good for all of Kennedy Street’s existing and soon-to-arrive businesses.

      • ^This. That big, empty, weird looking 70s office/apartment building is much better used housing families that need it. I just hope they run some extra E4s and 63s once it opens up.

  • 10th and V? First they sell the Whole Foods land for pennies on the dollar, and then they turn the corner into that…? Waste.

    Shame about Blind Whino. Can’t see it being a nice option for events, etc. going forward if they’re even allowed to stay there.

    • You’ll just have to wake them up and ask them to leave until the event’s over. I don’t see the problem here.

    • I disagree about Blind Wino. Maybe I just dropped off the mailing list, but I don’t think there have been many events there in the past year and I feel like as a venue, Blind Wino never really took off. That location is right by Randall Rec Center and the Unity Health facility. I think it’s as good of a location as any for Ward 6. I remember seeing rumors on another local blog that a shelter would be put closer to Nationals Park, which seems like a horrible idea. This is much better, in my opinion.

    • 10th and V? That’s right around the corner from The MIddle Finger on V, isn’t it? You already knew not to move there, right?

    • Seriously? A waste? A shelter in a part of the city where there are lots of homeless folks that is easily acesible by metro and bus is a waste? Why? Because in the past 2 years that area has become desirable?? “Turn the corner into…that.” take your elitist crap elsewhere

      • I appreciate you’re very excited about the gentrification, but I live two blocks from this site and there is still a lot of people in the immediate neighborhood that need assistance. This exact lot (and the adjacent church) has been occupied by transient homeless people fairly frequently since I moved in in 2009

    • I live on the 10th & V block and I’m thrilled for the building. The empty lot is a waste of space and an eye sore. I’d much rather have it used by people who need it. The design fits in well with the other buildings on the block. I’m sick of people thinking that because they paid a lot for a condo that they shouldn’t have to live near people who haven’t had the same luck they’ve had. The whole foods apartments will do fine.

    • Many of your neighbors do not consider housing for homeless families “waste.” DC General is not a safe or suitable place for families and it is only fair to spread these services out throughout the city (because NIMBYs will be everywhere and because it’s the right thing to do when it comes to giving homeless families the best shot at graduating from services).

    • Good grief. Your comment represents everything wrong with this city. Housing the homeless is not a waste.

    • I hope to never meet you in person, DCer.

    • saf

      It’s going to be next to the Blind Whino, not IN the Blind Whino.

  • Let us remember that there are existing women’s shelters scattered around the city; many are good, unobtrusive neighbors. N Street Village. House of Ruth. New Endeavors for Women. We are talking about housing for homeless children. Try to be open-minded.

    • indeed. Show some compassion people.

      • Calling the shelter at 10th and V a “Womens” shelter is incorrect.

        • You’re right. Technically it’s just an empty plot of land!
          I’m joking, but I’m not sure how calling it a women’s shelter is incorrect. Is it that it’s for young mothers, so potentially there may be male children living there with their mothers? By calling it a women’s shelter, the distinction is that its intended for use solely by women and their children, not everyone..

          • It’s incorrect because it isn’t planned to become a women’s shelter. See the table above. The Ward 2 site at 810 Fifth Street NW has the asterisk indicating it’s a women’s shelter. The rest do not. Therefore not a women’s shelter.
            I bring this up because commenters, and PoP himself, seem to be overselling this site as a proposed women’s shelter (because who can complain against sheltering women?) when that’s factually incorrect.

          • HaileUnlikely

            They are all family shelters. They are not shelters for individual men. I believe a single man with a child would be eligible to stay in a family shelter, however, the vast majority of families in the family shelters are single women with children.

          • I don’t quite understand the perception that a short-term family shelter is somehow worse / more detrimental to rich neighbors than a women’s shelter.

          • I didn’t catch the asterisk. I read the paragraph above, that said it was a women’s shelter, thinking it was an official press release from the city.
            On a related note – I just looked at the renderings for the 10th and V location on the DC Gov website, and it shows a large amount of retail in the floor plan. Is that common with shelters? I.e. would this be more like space for services associated with the shelter (i.e. basic groceries, doctor’s office) or could it turn into a bar?

    • Scrillin

      It really grinds my gears when newcomers won’t think of the children.

      • It’s even worse when people provide unabated support for a plan that they have not read, researched or thought out.

        In fact, its irresponsible to blindly follow a plan that is non-transparent, counter productive and provides ZERO assessments for community impacts.

        You can whine about “the children” all you want, but with the Mayor’s “laser-like” focus on homelessness she has completely shut out other concerns such as public safety, impact on police and emergency responders and community development projects.

        Disgusting that you would support such a terribly considered plan.

      • I must have missed the memo when those willing to personally and financially invest in a community are the enemy.

        Even worse, is that people are blindly approving a plan that they have not read, researched or considered. The Mayor went about this in an extraordinarily non-transparent way and not seeks to fast track its approval by April. And all the while your Councilmembers (except for Ward 5) are following her like she is leading them by the nose.

        It is shocking that the Mayor could work on this project for over at year without your ANCs and Council-member’s input or consent and they seem not to be disturbed by that fact.

        It’s troubling that many of these same elected officials ran on platforms regarding government transparency and anti-corruption. Now they are a cog in the same defunct wheel.

        If you want to comment or express your support make sure you READ the entire Homeward DC strategic plan and the proposed legislation. If you didnt read it and you want to argue I can’t take you seriously.

    • Thank you!

    • Yeah the one behind the Checker’s on Maryland Ave in NE doesn’t cause any problems either. Everyone I’ve walked by are always nice and friendly.

      • By the way, that is a women’s half way house behind Checkers, not a shelter. It was the home of a woman shot at the bus stop at 14th & Maryland.

    • Thank you!! Finally someone who isn’t just thinking about themselves and their property values. This city belongs to everyone, especially those who have been living in DC way before folks even thought about moving into their newly gentrified neighborhoods.

    • In defense of homeless men- the La Casa shelter on Irving near the Columbia Heights metro stations is a very good neighbor as well. The building is beautiful and the residents I’ve met are all very nice. I’m happy to live near them. It’s also a great example of housing first working in DC.

  • Ward 3’s not going to be happy — an empty lot right in the midst of nice bucolic houses.

    • 2619 Wisconsin Ave isn’t an empty lot, it’s just big – the empty space on the corner and the first house are all 2619 Wisconsin Ave. That house was occupied last year when I lived in Glover. I guess the owner must have sold the corner? They’d had a sign there trying to encourage private developers to buy the land.

  • I really wish DC would go about this differently. I agree with Petworther. This is definitely a step backwards in trying to develop Kennedy Street. The solution to DC’s homeless problem is to stop providing housing. DC has a homeless problem because people travel to DC from other areas to take advantage of DC’s generous social welfare net. Also, 50 family’s in each building is the same as putting a project on each of these corners. What is DC doing to ensure that these buildings house only the mothers and their children? The problems that made these women homeless in the first place have a tenancy to follow them into the shelters and later to “affordable housing” (lets call it what it is… free housing).

    Last, why are we so focused on giving away housing in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country? Maybe the answer is for people to look for housing in less expensive areas, where government handouts go a little farther. This is just creating a small concentration of poverty and crime. Kennedy St is just beginning to show signs of recovery after decades of neglect.

    • Develop Kennedy Street into what exactly. What is so special about Kennedy St that quantifies it to be some high cost housing area.

    • HaileUnlikely

      I partially sympathize with your statement that our relatively generous social services likely draw poor and homeless people from other jurisdictions, and it likely does create additional burden for the DC government. However, the argument that we shouldn’t provide basic social services to people who need them because other jurisdictions don’t provide them either strikes me as a dangerous argument.

    • Wow. It’s like you rolled all the talking points from the most selfish and inhumane pundits on Fox News into one relatively brief post. Bravo.
      No… wait… There’s nothing here about taking personal responsibility, or “I did it, so why can’t they”.

      • WDC you are right. I didn’t have to mention personal responsibility. It is implied. I tend to lean towards no social services because our society does nothing to wean people off them. I will not pretend that the people utilizing DC’s generous social services are living the high life. I want to point back to if we are going to provide these services, what are we doing to ensure they are temporary? What are we doing to help these mothers? Meeting with a social worker twice a month is not enough. What are we doing to ensure the buildings we house them in are secure, drug-free? What are we doing to ensure that the abusive relationships the mothers escaped don’t follow them into the shelter What kind of life training are we providing? What kind of job or schooling are we providing?

        This isn’t a temporary until they get back on their feet. It is the first step into life long poverty. The mothers receiving these services are just being queued up for free housing when it opens up.

        I think the way we treat the poor here in the United States is criminal. If they were unable to take personal responsibility for themselves before the shelter, what are we doing to help them take responsibility in the future?

        • So easy, huh? As if everyone has the same capacity for personal responsibility.

        • “It’s criminal that we’re doing so much for the poor!”

          • Brightwoodian forgot to mention the logical corollary: “Won’t SOMEBODY think of the children?!?” … oh, right…..

        • Well, these are families, so the priority here might be giving the children a chance rather than rehabilitating the parents. Not to say there shouldn’t be work done on the latter too, just that it’s not the priority. If you send these people to where “where government handouts go a little farther,” the children will have less of a fighting chance (because nothing improves a public school like a healthy dose of white rich kids, and a community dedicated to isolated poor folk will lose any they might have).
          Which is actually fair, because those good public schools (along with many other amenities that make nice places nice) are also government handouts. As is the government-insured mortgage you (presumably) acquired to make you care so much about your neighborhood. They’re just to the wealthy/rich. You’re basically objecting to their government handouts getting in the way of your government handouts, and proposing no real solution (isolating the poor will have negative value).

          • I do own a house in the neighborhood just north of the shelter being built at 5th and Kennedy. You are incorrect on the government-insured mortgage though. I lived in Virginia with my wife (then girlfriend) for 8 years and saved for a down payment on our home. We held off on kids until after we purchased our home. Your odd argument that I am wealthy/rich and receiving handouts is ridiculous. Where do you think the tax money is coming from to build these shelters and pay for DC’s social services?

            BTW, I’m objecting to life long poverty. Government handouts = lifelong poverty. It destroys someones motivation to do for themselves. Instead people try to get the most of the handouts they receive from the government.

          • Your mortgage interest deduction is a government handout. It’s a $500bn annual handout to homeowners.
            Unless you bought your house with straight cash, every single mortgage is currently purchased by Fannie/Freddie, securitized, and receives a government guarantee. This has nothing to do with PMI. If the government did not provide the guarantee on the securitization, you interest rate would be 100-200+ bps higher.
            What about your Homestead deduction “handout”?
            Let’s face it – homeowners are actually the biggest recipients of government handouts in American society.

          • BTW – combined spending on homelessness by HUD, the VA, and HHS equals about $5bn. So barely 1% on the handout given to homeowners each year. HUD estimates it would cost around $20bn to completely end homelessness.
            Why aren’t you fighting against that much larger wasteful program?

          • Brightwoodian, your world view seems rather limited. Government handouts do not = lifelong poverty. Have you ever known someone to collect unemployment? I have and guess what? They’re employed now. These services are to help people make it through a gap, a tough time until they can get back on their feet. Are there people that abuse it? Yes, but there are many people who use it responsibly. And as “FacePalm” below mentioned “You do understand homeless shelters and affordable housing don’t equal jobless, correct?”

          • Lets face it. You are pointing to places I get tax breaks. If your argument is that I should pay more in taxes that is a different discussion all together. I pay considerably more in both federal and I receive back in handouts through tax benefits. Lets face it, as you like to say. Our federal government is going bankrupt on too much defense spending and too much social welfare spending and too little taxes. If I had to pick where I want to balance the budget paying more taxes would not be my first choice.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Brightwoodian – Given your categorical opposition to public assistance, I can’t find it in me to give a f* how you feel about the specific details of a concrete plan, like where shelters are to be located. If you want to engage in a serious debate about the wisdom of putting a family shelter at 5505 5th St NW, you’re going to have to accept as a given that the DC government has decided that sheltering the homeless is a priority and that the debate is about the details, because whether we are going to shelter the homeless or not is not a question that is up for debate.

          • You do understand your employer pays unemployment insurance. While it is required by the government it was tied to employment. How many people are brought out of generational poverty through handouts? Government handouts don’t create efficacy. Doing for yourself does.

            If you want to take the argument to temporary assistance I at least understand that argument. The assistance needs to have strict time limits and requirements so people don’t get trapped by the very program that was supposed to help them. How many people successfully transition out of section-8 or other government subsidized housing? I’m not sure if that stat is even tracked. No one wants to look at that.

          • LOL, it takes a lot of mental gymnastics and logical inconsistency to assert that a tax break selectively given only to certain citizens is not equivalent to a “handout.”
            Wow. I’m flabbergasted.
            So when are you going to become self-reliant and pay all your interest expenses? I don’t understand why you need the government to reimburse you for them.

          • +1 to Timebomb’s “You’re basically objecting to their government handouts getting in the way of your government handouts, and proposing no real solution (isolating the poor will have negative value)” and HaileUnlikely’s “[Y]ou’re going to have to accept as a given that the DC government has decided that sheltering the homeless is a priority and that the debate is about the details, because whether we are going to shelter the homeless or not is not a question that is up for debate.”

          • Mortgage interest tax deduction! Red herring, much?

        • The vast majority of women with children who become homeless are escaping domestic violence. They are taking the personal responsibility to leave a situation that is destructive for their children and making a better life for them. Frequently, these mothers don’t have the economic stability to go it alone initially, but many times they can become economically self-sufficient if they are given time in a shelter to get a stable job and save a little. Shelters offer many supportive services to these families and usually have enhanced security to ensure the problem at home doesn’t follow them to the shelter. These shelters save women and children’s lives.

          • Anon. I agree with you. I brought up in a prior post that if I had faith that DC government would spend my tax money helping these woman and protecting them by providing secure housing, I’m on board. Will they drug test the mothers living here? Will they have strict requirements on who can come and go to protect the woman using the shelter from falling back into a destructive relationship with an ex or their child’s father?

          • Brightwoodian, why don’t you do a bit of research on the proposals and figure it out for yourself? Maybe attend the meetings and ask question? There’s plenty of info on the DC government website.
            Ever heard of “self-reliance?”

          • I would certainly hope that mothers will not be drug tested. Being homeless is not a crime and homeless people should not be treated as criminals. Drug testing is a presumption of guilt and is unnecessarily stigmatizing.

          • @Brightwoodian I’m not sure about the drug testing, that’s usually a local decision (I’m assuming DC does not). Yes, most women’s shelters are very strict about who can visit. The idea is to save the women, not open them up to greater risk. However, if a woman is going to go back to an abusive situation, there is only so much a shelter can do about it. If your big beef with housing assistance is that it lacks the mechanism for encouraging personal responsibility, women’s shelters really don’t fall into that category. The idea is to provide a safe haven and counseling for those who seek it, and get them into a stable, self-sufficient situation.

          • @Anon

            Only one ward got a women’s shelter. Ward 2. A women’s shelter for victims of domestic violence. I don’t see how anyone could argue against a women’s shelter. I just dont know who wants to live next to a homeless shelter.

          • Gotta say i disagree with the comment that drug testing is a presumption of guilt, plenty of people have to be drug tested for their jobs, are you telling me that the guy who operates a crane in downtown DC being randomly tested for drugs is a presumption of guilt as opposed to a standard condition of employment? If individuals are drug tested as a condition of receiving benefits I think that is justified, and could (in theory) increase the confidence that the benefits are being doled out appropriately by people who would oppose the program otherwise.

            On the other hand i would also suggest that those who have dependency issues and are working resolving that should be identified and given some accommodation as well as the help they need.

          • @Brightwoodian I live near the La Casa men’s permanent supportive shelter in Columbia Heights. They’re great neighbors and I would happily move next to another shelter in the future.

          • @ANONONON I think intent is key here- if drug testing is a part of a rehab program that someone has willingly entered into, sure, that makes sense. If your job requires drug testing as a part of public safety, sure. Illegal drugs are already illegal in shelters and public housing, and pot is illegal in federally-subsidized shelters. If you’re focusing on housing families, passing a drug test to gain housing or evicting families because a parent tests positive for a substance sort of works against your ultimate goal.

          • Drug testing the mothers in shelters? AYKM??
            Missouri spent over $300k testing almost 40,000 applicants. 48 tested positive. Forty eight. For $336,000. Good investment, would you say?

          • I would say it was a great investment. Because 39,952 people valued housing over drugs. It sounds like a success story to me.

          • Wow, I cannot even understand your thought process. I cannot believe someone like you actually lives in DC.

          • +1 to “If you’re focusing on housing families, passing a drug test to gain housing or evicting families because a parent tests positive for a substance sort of works against your ultimate goal.”

          • @Formerly ParkViewRes
            The conservative mindset is often plagued by emotions that are at odds with one another. The inability to parse facts and understand cause & effect underlies the logical inconsistencies within conservative platforms (e.g. pro death penalty but anti-abortion; in order to “save” the children, you must throw them out on the street because their addict mother failed a drug test; peace through unending war, etc). The desire for order in a complex world filled with shades of grey is why conservatives often latch onto ideologies so forcefully. Appealing to logic is a non-starter, when all they understand is brute power (usually under the handy guise of “free markets” to explain away immoral policy).

          • HaileUnlikely

            That is basically true as far as it goes, but I would contend that that is a fair characterization of the *human* mind. The correlation with political persuasion exists but is not that strong.

    • It is only fair to pay extra to spread these services throughout all the wards. Otherwise, they concentrate in the only the poorest places.

    • I know…why don’t all these homeless people just pack up their cars and go put down first and last month’s rent on an apartment in Richmond? Easy peasy! Bootstraps people! Like those freeloaders in Flint who are just staying there to get free bottled water.

      • It is fun to be sarcastic and attack me. I just want to say again what are we doing to help people out of their hard lives and this cycle of poverty? Should we provide housing to people for life with no expectation that they contribute to society? I would be perfectly okay with having a shelter built near my house if I thought it was actually temporary and that DC would follow through with helping this vulnerable part of society. Instead we fail them by putting them in a system of dependency with no way out.

        • These facilities will provide wraparound services to the residents, including mental health services, drug dependency services, healthcare, educational programs, and job placement. Is there something more that you are looking for, or are you just assuming that none of these things would be provided. I recommend that you attend the informational session to learn more.

          • serious question @david g- do those services you mentioned immediately stop when they’re no longer living in the facilities or are we too far out to plan steps beyond building and placing people in the new housing?

          • Good question, Bill. I don’t know the answer. There are permanent facilities that provide these sorts of support and I imagine that they continue to be available to the residents even after they have left the facility. I also imagine that people will have case workers. The key word is “imagine.” Perhaps someone else reading this thread knows more.

          • @david g- I can’t reply to your comment below, but thanks for the insight. based on what you said initially, I was imagining (keyword as you said) that it would be some sort of track–get them into housing, then mental health/drug services as needed, then once they’re settled and stable, get them going with the education and work track, and then eventually settled into permanent housing. I feel like this could be really successful, moving people from the street, into housing and a better life, but I also could see this morphing into a vicious cycle.

          • I’ve worked with the homeless population in various capacities as a professional counselor over the last 10+ years. Generally what happens is that a person (or family) is the temporary housing for 60/90/120 days, depending on their situation. While in the shelter they have a case manager (sometimes one from an Assertive Community Treatment “ACT” team), whom they will meet with on a regular basis (generally once a week, ACT teams are twice a week or more, depending again on the situation. When I worked on an ACT team, I generally saw my clients at least twice a week, or more depending on what we were working on), and are generally required to meet with to maintain their housing status. Goals are set for the person to achieve prior to moving out (obtain employment, become mentally/emotionally stability, sobriety, etc.). The case manager will help the person transition into permanent housing (which will usually involve some type of voucher program, but not always). The case manager will either continue working with that person, or they may be transferred to another case manager, depending on how the system is structured (My ACT clients were always transferred to a different case manager because I worked on the highest need cases and maintained a small caseload of people because of that). So the short answer to your question is: yes, the services *should* continue once they move out of temporary housing into permanent housing (but again, I have not seen the details of how this will be set up yet). I hope this helps.

          • @Nicole–that definitely helps. since you have experience, one additional question–over your 10+ years, how many families (or individuals) return to the temporary housing?

        • One could look at this as helping to break the cycle of poverty, thus creating a solution. The affect of homelessness on children is VASTLY under-appreciated. Children who face homelessness are far more likely to face truancy and other attendance issues, are far more likely to turn to crime, to drop out, to face mental illness – all significant contributing factors in poverty. Creating more homeless shelters for families in all areas of the city will allow children to hopefully remain in the schools they are currently enrolled, allow them to build or continue relationships with trusted adults who can support them in their education and at least give them one iota of stability in what is a chaotic life.

          • +1 This is precisely why the locations of the shelters is so important- allowing kids to stay in the same school throughout the year is critical. Kids need that stability and moving classes is hugely disruptive to education. Homeless kids are 9 times more likely to repeat a grade and four times more likely to drop out.

    • Actually, most homeless people aren’t buying one way bus tickets to DC because of our social services. When I lived in Florida, people will outright tell you they traveled there, homeless, “looking for jobs” because of the weather. DC’s weather makes it not first choice for homeless people. Most of our homeless people in DC once lived in homes in DC. And, we have a LOT of mentally ill people who end up in DC due to delusions of granduer, countless people who think they’re on a mission to see the President etc. That’s not a choice, really, to be homeless. Don’t think people come here and CHOOSE to lose their homes.

      • “And, we have a LOT of mentally ill people who end up in DC due to delusions of granduer, countless people who think they’re on a mission to see the President etc.”
        I assume you’re talking about Donald Trump. For the record, he won’t be staying in any of the listed shelters. They’ve already built a facility to contain him at 12th and Pennsylvania (see today’s PoP post).

    • You do understand homeless shelters and affordable housing don’t equal jobless, correct? I can have a job and still not afford housing, and simply saying well move somewhere else doesn’t mean I can get a job somewhere else. So your solution is to rip the carpet out from under citizens and send them off to another area (one where you don’t live and thus don’t have to interact with the poors and let’s call a spade a spade, minorities) with literally zero help in finding replacement employment. Or say someone is actively looking for work (a requirement by the way of many social programs), they often need a permanent address to apply or be hired, need interim housing, or may be just short on luck. Once again, let’s ship those people out because you need a new specialty cocktail bar.

      There are absolutely better ways for DC to approach its homeless population, stopping providing shelter for them is not it.

    • I gotta say I agree with Brightwoodian to an extent. Kennedy is a neglected area that is finally starting to see some new investment due to the hard work of many of the neighbors. Nimby-ism or not, i would hate to see a neighborhood’s growth stunted by this development, even if it is just because of a perception problem.

  • “our goal of ending homelessness in the District of Columbia”
    Does she really believe this? That this is an achievable goal? Or is it just political babble not meant to convey real meaning?
    Because unless the plan is to provide permanent no- or low-cost housing to individuals whose homelessness has a chronic cause, it ain’t happening. If I were a politician, I’d be a lot more careful about how I phrased my official “goals”.

    • They have ended chronic homelessness in Utah and a few other cities are well on their way. There is a current movement to end veteran homelessness and multiple cities around the country and done it. It is possible and is happening. If you google ending homelessness you can see if is not babble but any chance to take a swing at the DC government will not be missed, even if it is uninformed.

      • Yes, Utah. Where they are providing permanent, dignified low- or no-cost housing to people who previously spent years on the street suffering from untreated mental illness, among other chronic impediments to exercising that personal responsibility that is so popular among the already-privileged.
        But we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about warehousing and temporary fixes. Bowser doesn’t have the guts to propose something like what they did in Utah. Which is precisely why I mentioned it.
        You seriously do not have to tell ME what fixes are available for chronic homelessness. Just tell me when my city does something that in any way resembles them.

    • She really means it. The person she hired to run Department of Human Services has spent her career working on housing-first programs to reduce and eliminate chronic homelessness. The person she hired to run the Department of Housing and Community Development has spent her career providing transitional housing and services to homeless families. I don’t know whether they’ll succeed, but it’s clear that this really is the goal, not just political babble.

      • With housing-first programs… Is this eliminating chronic homelessness by helping homeless families be more self reliant? Or are the housing-first programs seen as successful because because it eliminates chronic homelessness by putting people in section-8 or free housing?

        • The former. This has been proven to work across the country.

          • Proven to work how? What is the metric of success? Just that people have a roof over there head? That there is less cost to society? Or that people are more capable of caring for themselves and less dependent on government services?

          • HaileUnlikely

            Well, they’ve been proven to save cities money, predominantly by cutting down on visits to the emergency room.

          • Metrics of success? Effects on convictions (down), effects on medical compliance (up), number of emergency service calls (way, way down). There’s more, but I don’t have the numbers to hand.
            But isn’t that enough? Can’t we just accept that there are some people in every community who need to be cared for? That not everyone possesses magical bootstraps? Or must we see those people getting the help they need, and whine about how they’re getting something we’re not?

    • If she really means it, she’s just being obtuse. Homelessness will never end in the District as long as Virginia and Maryland are providing subpar accommodations. For now, I do like the idea of these smaller shelters in lieu of DC General, though they will still need a significant onsite staff and a lot of good work behind them if they’re not going to turn into miniature nightmares.

  • PoP — the way I’m reading it, you seem to be mischaracterizing (and thus overselling) the shelter at 10th and V by calling it a shelter for young mothers (or, by not correcting the error from the reader-report). The shelter at 810 Fifth Street, NW is the only one with an asterisk noting that it’s a women’s shelter.

    • Do you have data on the percentage of adults in “family shelters” who are men? It’s usually quite low. And I see no reason why a single father should not be accommodated. Last year I had a female cousin whose opiate addiction spiraled out of control. She was responsible for the family finances and spent the rent money on drugs. The family was evicted. She was arrested. Her husband and three children couchsurfed with family friends until one of the children was molested in a house where they were staying. If it weren’t for a family shelter that accepts men with children they would have had nowhere to go to quickly get the child out of that situation. That man is not a criminal, he’s a hard working guy who lost his job in a bad economy and whose wife has a mental illness. If those kids were sent to a shelter like DC General where the majority of the population is single men they would have been no more safe than staying in the house with a known sexual predator.

    • HaileUnlikely

      They are all family shelters. One of them is only for moms, the others are for any family with minor children. No single men, though. Some eligible families may be single dads with children or couples with children, but the overwhelming majority are single moms with children.

  • I don’t understand why people think that DC General can’t work but these smaller sites will. The Atlantic did a famous piece undermining the idea that breaking up big public housing into smaller units fixes the problem — it doesn’t, it just spreads the problems across a wider area.

    • Because public housing and emergency shelters are not the same thing and the same principles do not apply? Public housing is for low income people who can’t afford market rent. Homeless shelters are for people who are typically experiencing some kind of acute crisis (often involving violence or mental illness).

      From a protection perspective, very large shelters are not safe spaces for family units. Children experiencing homelessness have some particularly acute vulnerabilities and if we want them to stand a chance at success in the future we can’t treat them the same way that we treat a 45 yr old man with a schizophrenia diagnosis and no access to mental health services. Part of the solution to the problem is keeping those children in spaces that are tailored to their needs, and apart from the larger population of people experiencing homelessness who own particular vulnerabilities and problems may create tangible treats and harms to children. In addition, it is problematic to disrupt children’s lives further by dislocating them from their communities, schools etc. So having a greater number of sites across a geographic area may allow for some continuity that can mitigate some of the toxic stress associated with physical and brain development in such difficult circumstances.

      • OK, fair point. But then why not keep DC General open for the single homeless population and then have the scattered sites for families? Just seems like a mistake to take capacity out of an already overcrowded system.

        • Because as others covered below the building is in extremely poor condition and the funds required to bring it up to an acceptable level would be prohibitive and the city has decided would be better invested elsewhere to meet the needs of more people.

    • Public housing and homeless shelters are not quite the same thing.

    • I sort of wonder this too. I totally agree that as it currently exists DC Gen isn’t working for what it needs to do. However, is it not possible that it can be “fixed up” and provide the services necessary?

      • IIRC, the building has become so decrepit that “fixing it up” wouldn’t be cost-efficient.

        • It’ll be cheaper to complete bulldoze the site and rebuild something new in it’s place. Does anyone know if there is a plan for the site once it is vacated?

        • Thanks. I also appreciate Eva’s response above about large homeless shelters vs small.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Other major issue: It’s fairly difficult to get from DC General to anywhere (other services, kids’ schools, perhaps a job interview someday?) without a car. It can be done but it takes inordinately long and most destinations would involve multiple bus transfers. Sheltering people who already ahve lots of other obstacles to overcome way out there really stacks the odds against people ever reintegrating more fully into society.

        • Yes. And while children experiencing homelessness are by law allowed to attend their previous schools even if they move out of boundary, the logistics of this for a family with no assets often make that legal right moot. And having all of the children who are homeless at any given moment all enrolled in the same school (which would see almost constant churn in its student body) would serve no one.

  • Does anyone have more clarification on the Blind Whino site? Is it closing for sure / for good?

    • Blind Whino will remain there, and the shelter will be built on its backyard, where a small apartment building had been proposed. HillRag has further details.

  • What is the best way to provide feedback against this plan? I have already emailed the mayor and my council member. I won’t be attending the meeting. Anything else I can do to fight this?

  • Lots of questions. And very minimal trust in this administration, or in this city, to get it right.
    1) If DC General was so heavily mismanaged, why are these facilities going to be any better? This is a question of who will be accountable for managing the services, not necessarily on the shift in housing model.
    2) According to NBC, the mayor is not going to hear any input regarding placement of these facilities. What WILL she be taking input on?
    3) Why are the meetings for all 8 ward facilities being held simultaneously, and with 2 days notice? Seems less like the administration is asking for meaningful feedback, and more like charade to show that they “received community input”.
    4) What, specifically, does “short-term” mean?
    5) What does “family” mean, in terms of who is eligible for housing?
    6) Why do the bullet points mention a playground, when the plans do not show any playground or even any potential place for a playground?
    7) How can a person with legitimate criticisms about these plans be heard without being attacked for being a heartless, gentrifying NIMBY? Most of the folks here with the strongest opinions will be affected exactly zero by this plan. Others will be very directly affected in a major way. I, for example, am the homeowner who picks up litter every 2 weeks along the west sidewalk of 10th between U and V. I have a VERY active stake in the betterment of this community and this block in particular. And given my experience, I simply don’t trust this administration to take legitimate concerns or criticisms into account. Especially when she’s holding 8 simultaneous meetings to “discuss the proposals”.
    8) Are there any other readers on here for whom the stakes are very high, and would like to see them get the details right on this plan? Anyone care to organize?

    • All great questions. Additionally, SORG has such a sketchy history of fake tax assessments, deals with the city, etc., and the mayor’s cronies are at best shady. Hey members of the press: follow the money.

  • Re: 10th & V; moving forward will the sidewalks now get some attention i.e. shoveling?

    Re: 2619 Wisconsin Ave; I’m sure the listing agent for the vacant lot next door (.44ac) wont be selling it for $5,200,000…

  • Are there any documented cases in DC of someone entering taxpayer-funded housing and then working hard and improving their station in life? My understanding is that generally people stay in the public housing until the project gets torn down or redeveloped, after which the tenants usually move to other public housing or to PG County.

    • YES! Where is the data showing that funding all these housing projects (plus mentoring programs, jobs training, etc) actually help people? In theory, shouldn’t there be a constant turn over in beds/spaces in a shelter because it is ‘short term?’ There is a huge wait list for these shelters/housing because they are NOT short term!

      • The average stay at DC General is 98 days. The goal for these new facilities is to place people in more permanent housing within 60-90 days.

        • Thank you. The conflation of public housing with shelters here is not going to help further the conversation.

          Most long term homeless are not even in shelters for a wide variety of reasons. The people who utilize shelters tend to be short term recipients of those services (almost incredibly short if you think about the obstacles facing someone who has fallen so far down the economic ladder that a shelter is their only option).

      • There could also be a huge waitlist because poverty is a huge problem.

    • Check out ReThink Housing, they have a lot of case studies of people who have been successful public housing residents. http://www.rethinkhousing.org/

    • It is worth noting that just because someone enters a shelter, it doesn’t guarantee placement in a public housing unit or access to a voucher. Demand for both is extremely high, and while entering into a shelter moves you up in the queue, many families and individuals ultimately don’t end up with secure housing after a shelter stay. It’s very difficult to pull yourself up by your bootstraps without a place to shower, to leave your possessions for the day, and without an address for mail and job applications. Many shelters, primarily men’s shelters, close between 6 am and 3-4 pm and don’t allow for storage. Success stories are hard come by in that lifestyle, but amazingly, they still do happen.

    • My great-aunt lived in a project housing in New York. She moved into it with her husband and children when it first opened in the late 60s or early 70s. She was a Columbia Teachers College graduate and employed by the City as a special education teacher and my uncle was a contractor, but raising seven children still meant they qualified for living in the housing project because she as the main breadwinner. Over the decades, the quality of the development deteriorated and her children grew up went to college and and moved out. They saved their money and eventually moved out when they purchased a house in the late 90s. So public housing does not mean people aren’t working hard or fully employed or any of that. It just means that sometimes in expensive cities, families cannot afford the housing without assistance. I think to better understand public housing and some (but not all) of the people living in it, it is necessary to research and learn about what these developments were they first opened and not what they have become over the years with neglect and the infiltration of crime, thirty or forty years later. General assumptions and negative stereotypes about the populace in public housing only reinforces the problems and backlash by the public that many of the residents face and is counter-productive.

  • This is fantastic news. This will serve the city’s underprivileged far better than being piled in a single shelter. This should be greeted with open arms by anyone in this city who actually cares about their fellow residents rather than simply their own immediate self-interest.

    • As we can see, many only seem to care about their property values. Pathetic.

      • it isn’t an “Either / Or” situation. One can be concerned about their fellow man[/woman] but still feel that the sites selected may not all be perfectly optimized.

        • Look at the knee-jerk reactions. They haven’t even heard the details and they’re already flipping out. “Optimized” site my ass.

          • Well, you’ve clearly made up your mind, which is fine. I’m just saying that, like many things in life, responses to this may be nuanced. I see this as a continuum – some are all the way to one side, some on the other, but many, like me, somewhere in the middle.
            Do you feel that these sites are the best possible sites, and that there exist no other available sites that offer any advantage whatsoever?
            (Maybe this is true – I have no idea. I’m just saying that it’s possible that there are better sites out there, and perhaps that is what others are thinking too. Shouldn’t there be an honest dialog about these sites within each community?)

          • While honest dialogue sounds like the right answer, in cases like these, no amount of honest dialogue will lead to a neighborhood agreeing to host one of these facilities. That is the unfortunate reality. In most cases, community consultation is the right thing, but in the case of choosing sites for transitional homeless facilities, it is a fruitless endeavor and it makes sense for the city to just make selections.

          • +1 to “[N]o amount of honest dialogue will lead to a neighborhood agreeing to host one of these facilities. That is the unfortunate reality.”

          • You are saying because the residents won’t simply rollover and take whatever unwanted policy is being foisted upon them there shouldn’t even be a community conversation. This is crazy.

          • DCResident99, I believe that you are inadvertently proving my point. Your mind is already made up regarding this facility and no amount of dialogue is going to change it. If these conversations were open to community consultation with the real possibility of the facility being moved, then these facilities would never get built. People just don’t want homeless shelters in their neighborhoods, if given the choice. And yet, homeless shelters are necessary and have to go somewhere.

          • Your point is that you don’t really care that what other people think. Because you believe something is necessary, you don’t believe that residents should have any say in that something being in your neighborhood.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I won’t speak for David, but I’ll speak for myself and say, yeah, I don’t think residents should have any say over whether they get a homeless shelter in their neighborhood. Given that we have to put one somewhere (ok, you might reject the notion that we “have to” put one somewhere, but given the fact that we *will* put one somewhere nonetheless), if we factor in residents’ opinions, and basically nobody wants a shelter in their neighborhood, where you’ll end up with the shelter is in the place with the residents whose opinions those in power care about the least (which is common). For that reason, yes, I believe residents should have literally zero input into whether they get a homeless shelter in their neighborhood. I gather that you disagree but I’ll be completely clear about where I stand on the matter.

          • I disagree. I believe resident concerns should be heard when the city wants to place something unwanted in a neighborhood.

  • The Relisha Rudd case kinda sealed the fate of DC General. One can only imagine what other types of inappropriate activities were going on there with 40% of the residents being children. Truancy rates were probably through the roof and it was probably just to big of a facility to manage all the coming and goings of its residents.

    The smaller facilities should provide more intimate care and allow for better follow up and management to ease the transition back into society.

    The facilities should resemble treatment centers and not free for all jail facilities. Being embedded in the community provides hope as opposed to being isolated with individuals who have no hope and make poor choices as a result.

  • Asking me to “come up with a competing, comprehensive plan that provides family services to all in need” diverts the issue completely. My concern is that there will now be a homeless shelter built next to my house. It’s absurd the plan is to move the homeless into established or improving neighborhoods. DC neighborhoods finally have some momentum, and its our own government working against that.

    • Not In Your Back Yard, eh?

      “Momentum” is a nice code word.

    • Good luck. I agree with you – the city is just plunking these shelters where ever there is space available, without consideration of the people already living in the neighborhood. If that makes me a nimby, I’ll take it. The last thing I want near my house is a shelter like 2nd and D. I don’t want all the problems that come with a shelter near my house, either!

      • HaileUnlikely

        The shelter at 2nd & D is about the worst caricature of a shelter anybody can dream up. If you cannot comprehend the difference between a shelter that will accommodate 30-50 families with dependent children vs. the shelter at 2nd & D, I don’t think I can help you.

        • +1000. You do realize that many homeless are working families with children, right?

          • No. Not working families.

          • If you refuse to believe that people in emergency shelters can be engaged in wage labor then there really isn’t any point in discussing this with you. Because your opinion is just factually untrue.

          • Brightwoodian clearly does not care about weighing the data, but here is one statistic, although a little outdated. No time at work for me to find a better number. [disclaimer: with a quick google, some sources place the number closer to 20% of homeless who are *steadily* employed on-the-books]: “According to a 2002 national study by the Urban Institute, about 45 percent of homeless adults had worked in the past 30 days — only 14 percentage points lower than the employment rate for the general population last month. The number of working homeless would probably be even higher if “off the books” work was included.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/09/AR2010070902357.html)

          • In regards to families:
            “In January 2015, 564,708 people were homeless on a given night in the United States.
            Of that number, 206,286 were people in families, and
            358,422 were individuals.”

        • Eva,

          Do you really believe that everyone at these shelters are engaged in wage labor? Most people at the shelters are single mothers. Who is watching their children while they work? They likely don’t have a strong family support system or they would be with their family instead of the shelter.

          • After you acknowledge all those complications these women face, your solution is still to send them to a far flung cheap COL location, where they likely know no one, and have limited prospects for a job?
            If so, you’re a sociopath.

          • HaileUnlikely

            It appears that you are arguing simultaneously that they should be working and that they can’t be working.

          • Seriously?

            Living outside of the DMV does not mean limited prospects for jobs. Also, If they don’t have a strong family or friend support system, perhaps a move is best. Anything to get away from the negativeness and lack of efficacy that comes from people in generational poverty.

          • HaileUnlikely,

            This isn’t a discussion about subsidized childcare for people working to provide for themselves. I don’t have issues with government services that help people do for themselves or transition to a more self-reliant life I just wanted to point out the ridiculousness that people in homeless shelters are out there doing the 40 hour grind.

          • HaileUnlikely

            You’re either misunderstanding or mischaracterizing FridayGirl’s and Eva’s assertions. You are saying that not everybody in the shelters is working, in such a manner as to contradict their assertions that some of them are working. I suspect that more than zero but fewer than all of the residents in these shelters will be working. While I will admit that it is more the exception than the rule, I do know homeless people who have maintained employment while homeless.

          • No I don’t believe that everyone is. And I won’t be boxed into defending that point. You stated “no not working families.” I am defending the position that at least some are working families. And that is indisputable. I am RELATED TO working people who have spent time in family shelters. Things happen and people lose housing. Yes, childcare is a major issue, but having family that can watch a child for a few hours a day is not the same thing as having family that will let you move into their home. One is a much bigger burden than the other. Also sometimes children are not aged 0-3 and are eligible to go to school, which often has aftercare, which means childcare is truly only needed for small discrete chunks of time.

          • Also, one can WORK without doing a 40 hour grind. I know many people of various economic classes that aren’t working a full 40 hours (or more).
            And to conclude, I’m not sure what background you come from to judge how other people try to survive, Brightwoodian. But I suggest that you look a little bit more critically at your current stance if you have always had food on your table, or a roof over your head, or have had access to a car or been able to afford daily public transportation — things most of us take for granted.

          • “Most people at the shelters are single mothers. Who is watching their children while they work?” Single mom of three here! Guess what! A lot of us single mothers (in fact, every single single mother I know!) work, and most work full-time. Our kids have this wonderful thing called “school” where they do this funny thing called “learning” and often times have fun. It’s a crazy concept; they go to school around 8am, allowing me to go to my job, and then they have after care so I can work a full 8 hour day without having to worry about them. I don’t have a strong family network to watch my kids. I have a few good friends who help me out (fancy that, we’re actually all single moms! Who hold full-time jobs!), but that’s it, I’m on my own.
            I do well for myself, but what happens if I lose my housing for whatever reason? Where am I to go? Do I leave the area completely, making my kids leave their school and friends, and leave my job so I can go “home,” or do I stay in the city and get temporary assistance with housing and assistance in finding a place? People like you have absolutely no idea how precarious situations can be for your neighbors. But you know what, keep judging those around you. I’m sure it does wonders for the soul.

        • FridayGirl,

          If you poll a group of homeless people for a study like that how many of them will answer it honestly? Also over that 45 percent only about 20% of those individuals had a job that had lasted more than 3 months. The Urban Institute is reporting statistics with an agenda in mind. It was irresponsible of the Washington post to report the numbers that way without context.

          • Frankly, I think many of them would answer honestly. Who do you think they are? If a non-profit polls homeless about employment, they can either take pride in their work (if they are employed) or seek assistance being offered (if they are not employed). Additionally, I am sure some group somewhere has surveyed the organizations/case workers rather than the individuals themselves, since it seems likely that would produce more reliable data. And so what if they were odd jobs that lasted less than 3 months? Wealthy middle-class contractors and consultants work short jobs and no one knit picks them about it…

          • FridayGirl, you will get no where with this one. Brightwoodian is one of those types that sees being poor as a character flaw. Poor people are always lazy, always a scourge on society, can’t and won’t contribute, etc, etc, etc.

          • You don’t need to poll them. Anyone entering into a shelter is required to sign a homelessness verification form. If they wish to apply for HUD assistance, they must submit financial information that will verify their level of income, if any. Residents of public housing and recipients of vouchers are required to pay 30 percent of their incomes toward their housing, so those incomes are well-documented.

      • There’s something deeply appropriate about citing concern for “people already living in the neighborhood.” What about the people already living in dozens of neighborhoods before transplants drove up housing prices to levels that drove out anyone who was working class? I’m sorry that you feel that it’s such a burden and an inconvenience to live in close proximity to a place where the city’s underprivileged can get some help, but I suppose it’s typical of the entitled attitude of so many here. The last thing I want near my house is neighbors like you.

    • So if we can’t put homeless shelters in established or improving neighborhoods, then where would you like them to go?

  • Awesome news. I’m glad they are spreading this to all 8 wards, rather than concentrating it in two neighborhoods. Poverty diluted is how you solve poverty. And DC General just sucks – it’s in dismal state, is too far from schools and jobs, and is just a horrible place.
    Will these shelters be run by private entities with service contracts?

  • Momentum is a code word for less crime, safer neighborhoods. and an influx of businesses.

    • These shelters are for families to promote less crime, safer neighborhoods and productive citizens not simply to just cast them off out of sight where no one can see them and hide the underlying problem of poverty in this city.

    • Jim.take a breath. The 10th and V location will host 30 families. That’s it. 30 families of mostly women and kids are not going to cause the sky to fall at U Street, no descent into a crime infested neighborhood, at least not one that’s caused by them. I’d worry more about how the city is handling robberies than this.

      • 10th and V is directly across the street from an elementary school and a church with a large daycare/preschool operation. Literally, a 10 second walk to both institutions. It’s a great location.

        • A school that isnt open (just temporary overflow) and a church/day center that will move out in two years when they sell to developers. Good research.

          • I doubt the church is going anywhere. Reverend Hart’s father’s name is on the street sign for the stretch of V between 10th and 11th. They’ve been there through the long haul, and if they ever need a quick influx of cash, they can sell any of the 3 row homes they own on 11th adjacent to the church building. I’m happy to have them stay, they’ve been good neighbors.
            That’s great that there are supporters who are so selflessly concerned for the plight of the homeless. But the fact is that if this project is done improperly, and there are several examples of things the city has done improperly, then the folks who live next door end up with a mess on their hands. Call us NIMBYs, but we deserve some reassurance that we aren’t getting screwed so Muriel can get her photo ops at the ribbon cuttings.

  • Yes, things worked so well at DC General! Let’s just spread the problem throughout he city! That will fix it!

  • To those so quick to dismiss people as transplants, gentrifiers, etc., please remember that these are the people who have increased the city’s tax base and made it possible for the city to provide such services in the first place. I really don’t get why affluent residents are being treated like an STD. If you think the city would be better without these people, see, e.g., DC in the ’90s, Baltimore now, etc.

    • I am one of those people and I have never felt like I was being treated like an STD (what does that even mean? Given hearty doses of antibiotics?).

      And I was here in the 90s too. Still a transplant 🙂

    • I usually wouldn’t write something like this, but I just read all these comments at once, and I’m infuriated, so here goes.
      All of you self-congratulatory [insert epithet]s who are bemoaning the fact that as gentrifiers you are so put upon, and the “affluent” residents are “treated like an STD” – just stop. Your life is good. The people for whom these facilities are being built have hit a rough patch. Act like you have a soul.

      Oh, before you break your arm patting yourself on the back over how much you have paid in taxes, it is a mortal lock that I have contributed more than you have to the city coffers. It probably isn’t close. And you know what? I certainly don’t think that I am too good to live next to a temporary shelter for families. You ain’t either. Good god.

      • These shelters have to go somewhere, but I think it’s a fair point that the people whose houses are within a block of so of the shelters will take a hit on their property value (the 5th street one in particular). Right or wrong it’s true. The fact is that these kinds of programs have a disproportionate effect on a small number of people and I think it’s completely reasonable for those people to be pissed about it, even if they support the general idea of the shelters.
        Beyond that I also think it’s a fair point that (1) DC could do more to make it’s programs transitional, and (2) DC could do more to ensure we’re not paying for people to come from MD and VA and use our social services.

      • Interesting approach to criticize people for patting themselves on their backs by patting yourself on the back. Also, what the heck is a ‘mortal lock’?

    • I’ve lived within blocks of here for nearly 30 years. I hate that because I’m white and have improved my own prospects while staying and investing in this neighborhood, that I am viewed as some sort of interloper with no rights to voice my concerns about an inept administration’s plans that directly affect me.

      • What does your race have to do with anything? Are you insinuating that your opinion on this issue doesn’t matter because you are white?

  • I live close to the 5th and Kennedy site and just want to say that I support this move. That location has been empty since I moved to the area 6 years ago. The location is good, with two major bus lines intersecting that corner. My only concerns is that there are a lot of liquor stores in the immediate vicinity (not necessarily a problem, but maybe not the best with a bunch of kids right there) and that the closest playground is about .75 miles. I hope they have some play equipment for the kids. I also hope that, if space allows, some of the charter schools in the area (DC Bilingual, CMI, Bridges, LAMB) will allow admission to kids staying at the shelter and let them remain in the schools after they leave the shelter.

    • I would have the same concern about that location on Kennedy. The police appear to have given up policing the drug market on Kennedy and with the liquor stores it doesn’t much seem like a wholesome environment, for tenants who are battling substance abuse. It’s not that far from playgrounds though, there’s Emery Rec about 7 blocks away, and Truesdell has a school playground about 5 blocks away. Would be great location for a kid going to Washington Latin.

  • Putting a homeless shelter on Wisconsin Avenue between embassies and million dollar houses is like putting Chris Martin on stage between Beyonce and Bruno Mars!

  • A lot of important things that have been said on both sides here. Obviously the homeless need shelter and social services. Also DC could do more to encourage people to become self-sustaining and to stop shouldering the burden of the adjoining states.
    So for the moment let’s say these shelters do need to be put somewhere. The advocates could do everyone a favor by at least acknowledging that empirically a shelter will reduce the property values of everything else on the surrounding block. Is that because people have mistaken impressions about the homeless and poverty or misperceptions about the effects of crime? Maybe. But the effect on property values is 100% clear. If the mayor and others would at least acknowledge that, we at least could have a conversation about how to solve the problem without the completely disingenuous arguments from both sides.
    Frankly if you put a shelter in a residential neighborhood you are taking money out of the pockets of the neighbors. They should be compensated, wether through zoning relief or some other way.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Nobody is entitled to a windfall of unbridled appreciation in their property values. If anything the “hit” you speak of is more like a “correction.”

        • HaileUnlikely

          If you run a business in the neighborhood I might take your gripe seriously. If all you did is buy a house (like me), all you’re doing with your property values is riding the wave (like me).

          • I’ve been looking for you all my life. I’ve Finally found the person that gets to pick the winners and losers.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Property values go up and they go down. If you run a business, you may have actually made a non-negligible contribution to the increase in property values in your neighborhood. If you just own a house, then sorry to burst your bubble, but you had about as much to do with the increase in the value of your property as you have to do with the value of a share of stock in a large company. Are you entitled to compensation if you buy a share of Apple stock and the value falls? Of course you aren’t.

          • Accountering

            So my house was a hang-out for the neighborhood drunks (per a police officer I spoke with) Andie and I bought it, and invested $150,000 in renovations, and it now has a basement unit, and tax paying residents.
            Care to argue that I didn’t increase the property values on my block, by moving the neighborhood drunks somewhere else?

          • Accountering

            Your Apple share example is terrible. There is no comparison between buying a share of stock that decreases in price due to market values, and the city putting a homeless shelter next to your house. That isn’t market pressure on your house value, that is city created pressure.

          • Accountering, I think your house (and similar cases involving “problem” houses) would be the exception as far as a homeowner doing something to increase neighborhood property values.

          • HaileUnlikely

            No, I wouldn’t argue that you, personally, did nothing to increase property values on your block. However, as others have noted, your scenario is far more the exception than the rule. I have no delusions that my buying my house did anything to increase values on my block, and I suspect that my scenario is more common by a large multiple.
            Regarding the Apple comparison – I’ll concede it wasn’t perfect. I don’t think it was terrible, though. You don’t control all of the factors that impact the value of your shares and you don’t control all of the factors that impact the value of your house. In both cases, in addition to general market forces, there are concrete decisions made by individual people that sometimes have a profound impact on the value of the shares (or property) as well. If you don’t like the result, the residents can vote the mayor out, and the shareholders can oust the CEO, but the notion that you are entitled to compensation because the value of your holding went down is nonsensical.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Also, “the effect on property values is 100% clear.” Show me the studies.
      This has enough intuitive appeal that I at first took it at face value and gave you the benefit of the doubt that there exist numerous good quality peer-reviewed studies demonstrating this point convincingly. Then I looked, and I found no such thing. I am not an urban development professional, though, I might just not know where to look to find the right studies. Would you please point me to them?

      • I agree with you – these myopic fears seem largely overblown. U street isn’t about to become any less “in demand” because of this temporary-stay shelter. In a few years, folks won’t even know what it is, as the building will simply blend in with its neighbors. Take a look at the N Street Village, half block from Logan Circle. Logan’s doing just alright, last I checked.

        • Indeed. People looking to move into these areas probably won’t even know the shelters are there in most cases, because they’re designed to typically be integrated into the neighborhood.

          Incidentally I didn’t realize there was an Oxford House on my block until about 5 years after I bought my house. And I only found out about it because someone asked me if I’d feel comfortable buying a house in a development with one and I didn’t know what they were. So I looked it up and found there is one on my block, 5 houses down. Never had a problem with it before I knew, and haven’t had a problem with it since.

      • Yes, continue to marginalize my opinion because I haven’t lived here long enough or I don’t own a business. Sorry, man. I live here now, so I’m a stakeholder. My opinion does matter. You can try to divert people to look at the shiny object over there and avoid the elephant in the room, but I am going to continue to keep talking.

        • HaileUnlikely

          It’s nothing personal. Property owners are not entitled to compensation from the city if their property values decline. That is just not how it works.

          • Don’t be dense. This is not the ups and downs of the market. It’s taking money out of the hands of a very small number of people. If not, maybe you’ll volunteer to have it across from your house. Or how about a methadone clinic? Or a tannery?
            There are a number of studies but most are inconclusive and poorly done. I don’t think there’s any doubt that when you stick a 50 family shelter on a residential street with mostly SFHs, the value of those homes will suffer. I doubt it will make much of a difference at 10th and V because of the high existing density.
            If you want an example take a look at this place:
            It sold well under market at the time for the neighborhood, and take a look at the first GDoN comment.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Honestly, I’d be happy to have a shelter for 30-50 homeless families on my block. I would. Seriously.
            A larger shelter for single men? I’ll concede that I’d be less than thrilled about that, but I respect that they are needed and they have to go somewhere, and thus I would not actively oppose it.

          • I actually don’t think they’re bad for the neighborhood (if they are well managed, although that’s a whole different can of worms), just for the SFHs immediately across the street or next door. Which is why it makes sense to put them either in dense areas (10th and V) or more commercial areas (the SW and NE locations). The Brightwood location is also far from transit making it a particularly strange choice.
            Management is the real problem. It seems 90% of the issues with DC general are related to management, not infrastructure. So why on earth would you keep the same people in charge but build a whole new set of structures? That is really what seems the height of stupidity to me. These shelters will inevitably be mini-hell holes spread throughout the city, which is why people don’t want them. Not because shelters are inherently bad.

          • The Brightwood location (I’m assuming you mean the one on the 5500 block of 5th Street?) is at the intersection of 2 major buslines (62/63 for north/south and the E buses for east/west)

        • You’re making a property taking argument and a very poor one at that. The city owes you nothing for any potential decline in your property value. Your entire argument is wholly speculative in the first place and even if there was data, years later, to show a significant decline in your property value, good luck obtaining evidence to prove that it is all related to the shelter and not the myriad of other factors which affect proper values.

    • The way that the D.C. real estate market is booming, I doubt that adding a shelter to a neighborhood is going to “reduce the property values of everything else on the surrounding block.” Reduce them RELATIVE to neighboring blocks, quite possibly… but the way that property values are growing, adding a shelter isn’t going to bring them down. It would just mean they might not soar to quite the same heights as blocks somewhat further away.

  • So our townhouse will literally be right behind the proposed facility in SW. Are we excited?! Hell ‘NOOOO’! What will it mean for our safety? Our neighborhood already face break-ins, theft, etc. What will it mean for my property value? I’m all progressive but this will take a little time to take it in (as I drink more wine typing this) before I can accept that this will be coming to my backyard. Part of city life and investing in our community as a whole I guess.

    • Literally a NIMBY post.
      For everyone that complains about property values. DC could compensate by upzoning close to shelters. A win for density and a win for current owner property values.

    • Well, since you’re right next to Blind Wino, you’re well-aware of all the subsidized housing right across the street. Since that didn’t stop you from moving in and hasn’t caused you to move out, why would a temporary-stay family shelter be any different?

    • Aside from the fact I would like the building to look less institutional, this is a good thing for the Waterfront. Yes, we have a glut of public housing — and I fully support a movement to get DC Gov to carry out much needed repairs on those facilities now/now — but we’re talking about bringing 50 new families into SW. That is a great way to build community, unlike micro-apartments planned for the Wharf at astronomical prices, which won’t (I believe) attract community-oriented people. The families in the shelter will likely care about the local school, the community garden, the duck pond — the future of the neighborhood. Get the architecture right, and this could be a home-run.

  • There’s a meeting this THURSDAY to address concerns/questions but not sure if it’s just for Ward 4 or for all the wards. For those who are interested, the meeting info:

    Thursday, February 11, 2016 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM (EST)
    Paul Public Charter School
    5800 8th Street Northwest
    Washington, DC 20011
    and you must RSVP via EventBrite

  • I think this is great. Spread it around the city not just in a couple poor areas. It’s time more people are exposed to the consequences of their politics. You want the government to house homeless people, many of whom are living chaotic, dysfunctional lives? Sure but we may have to house them near your home.

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