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Dear PoP – What’s Up With These Trailers?

by Prince Of Petworth — March 31, 2009 at 10:04 pm 14 Comments


“Dear PoP,

Every day I walk on Irving St NW, and at the cross section with Hiatt Street (in between 14th & 16th st) there is a fenced in area, almost always with a security guard, and a few trailers inside. There are people walking in and out at all times, and the place seems rather busy at night. Any clue what this is?”

A cop once told me that this is a (temporary?) homeless shelter. The trailers look like they might be for (temporary?) housing. I’m pretty sure this is what he was talking about. Can anyone confirm this or know specifically what the trailers are for?

  • AK

    Its the La Casa Men’s Shelter. I think there has been a lot of back and forth over the years as to where the ‘permanent’ home will be, hence the current location is ‘temporary’.

  • Victoriam

    Overflow accomodations for the adjacent homeless shelter.

  • Anonymous

    I attended a community meeting about a possible move to a building at Spring and 13th, but it was only going to affect the intensive rehabilitation program that La Casa runs. My understanding is that the rehabilitation program houses its residents inside the building and has strict requirements against alcohol and drug use, and requires residents to seek and find employment. I was very impressed by the program description and the testimonials by the staff and participants. I later heard that a different program moved into that space on Spring road, but I’m not sure.

    I think that the trailers are emergency housing also run by La Casa, but without the same long term engagement requirements. So I don’t think it’s “temporary” housing in the sense that they are planning to vacate the location. It is temporary for the people who use it. This shelter has been at the location for a number of years and I think they have a strong commitment from the city that they will remain at the location.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, Anon 10:30 sounds about right. I know that the trailers have been in this location since at least 2002.

  • NAB

    Having this right next door to highland park makes for some rich irony in my morning commute.

  • christopher

    why do they use trailors in a lot when there are so many abandoned buildings falling to ruin around dc? im asking seriously, not being contrary. la casa sounds like a great program, i hope they get settled soon.

  • Anonymous

    I wondered for a while what that space was. I always thought it was a space for migrant workers to sleep. Close I guess.

    One of the commenters mentions an adjacent shelter. Is the building to the right or left a shelter as well?

  • I believe they used the trailers because of complaints from the community. Rehabbing a building would be a big investment, and result in the shelter being there for years to come. The trailers are portable, so there isn’t as much of a capital investment other than a empty lot that can be easily sold off as prices rise. The trailers can then be moved to another area, and the process started again.

  • Anonymous

    So why didn’t they sell in the 2005-2006 timeframe when real estate prices were skyrocketing?

    While we’re sort of on the topic, does anyone know what is meant by “affordable housing”?

  • Anonymous

    The lines, they are a gettin’ longer! No joke.

  • Anonymous

    Nab- my thoughts exactly. I would think that lots prime location would make it easy to enter into a private public partnership in which a new 5 or 6 story apartment building goes up and in the trade off a number of units are offered to la casa for the people living in the trailors.

  • Anonymous

    Someone was taken out on a stretcher from this place on Saturday afternoon….not sure if it was drug or violence related, but there was a large group of men and women hovered around this person, who was laid out face-down in the dirt. Ambulance came and took them away.

    Anyone know what happened?

  • ontarioroader

    The trailers /shelter have been there at least 12 years – nothing ‘temporary’ about that.

  • DC_Chica

    This is a great article about the debate over what to do with the shelter when the adjacent lots were being built on, but obviously the “state-of-the-art” “local and national model” promised by the city and Donatelli hasn’t materialized, what happened?


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