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“Many of you will remember the community conversation about affordable housing at the redevelopment of the old Hebrew Home last year”

by Prince Of Petworth October 19, 2015 at 3:10 pm 53 Comments

1125-Spring-Road-NW_hebrew_home
1125 Spring Road, NW

From the Petworth listserv:

“Many of you will remember the community conversation about affordable housing at the redevelopment of the old Hebrew Home (1125 Spring Rd NW) last year. At the time, then-mayoral candidate Muriel Bowser facilitated a series of very public and transparent community meetings revealing an overwhelming consensus in support of affordable housing in the redeveloped property.

The result was a plan for the building to have 90% of its units be affordable, at a range from working class affordability to more middle-class affordable units, including some prioritized for seniors. You can see those plans here. These are units that would house people to work in our neighborhood restaurants, cafes, schools, grocery stores, barber shops, and more – valued members of our community.

Unfortunately, what was once a very transparent and responsive process has, under Councilmember Brandon Todd, become opaque, and may be reneging on the original promise made to our ward and to the city. Word has begun to spread that oversight of the project was moved from the Housing Authority to the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), and that the proportion of units reserved for affordability may drop from 90% to 30%. For over a month, Councilmember Todd’s office has completely ignored calls for transparency from constituents, ANC commissioners, and reporters. Despite a city website naming Todd’s office as the liaison on this issue, his office has refused to respond to numerous inquiries.

In response, a group of neighbors has now written and begun circulating a public letter calling for three basic things. We believe that, in order to ensure fair and transparent development at the Hebrew Home site, Mayor Bowser, Councilmember Todd, and Deputy Mayor Brian Kenner must:

1) Immediately inform members of the community fully about the status of the Hebrew Home development.

2) Hold a public forum to solicit community input on any changes to the plans for the site that deviate from the proposal made last year.

3) Ensure that DMPED’s call for proposals for the site reflects the specific public commitments that were made to affordability at the site.

In just its first few days, the neighbors’ letter collected almost 200 signatures. Please add your voice and sign onto the neighbors’ letter calling for these simple actions.

Our elected officials must bring transparency back to this process, and they must keep their promises on affordable housing. DC’s housing crisis requires nothing less.”

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