Just to get a feel for rents in DC, I was looking at the rentals in the City Paper and found:
SHAW/ BATES ST. NW. Large, sunny apt. in 2nd floor of townhouse. W/D, CAC, $700/mo.+. Habitat Real Estate, 202/232-XXXX
Damned we’re cheap.
So people of Bates, if you have a poor college grad you want in your hood, see if s/he’ll take this.
I don’t have any particular project or property in mind. I’m just musing. But face it. For those of us in the transitional neighborhoods, when we hear the words “affordable housing” we get anxious, defensive and just plain angry. If you are currently living or have lived next door to a Section 8 crackhead and their little crack buddies that come by, I understand your anger.
Maybe you can get in affordable housing with a mixed income project or say it’s for seniors. ‘Cause really how much trouble is grandpa gonna give you? Yeah, old folks do drugs, but most of those drugs are illegals from Canada. Mixed income projects give hope that the non-poor residents will balance out the poor ones and that spaces are limited enough that crack heads and touble makers need not apply.
I know that the city is in desperate need for affordable housing and should have affordable housing. Yet, it seems like it may get in the way for the big reward that transitioning neighborhoods move towards. If big building is market rate then it brings people who can attract the businesses some of us want. But going the affordable housing route brings worry, worry that it may turn into a housing project where there is this pocket of poverty. Housing projects do not seem to attract coffeehouses or bookstores. They seem to attract explotive businesses like check cashing stores or liquor stores that only stock things that get you drunk or drunker.
But we must face the need (on moral or logicistical grounds) to provide affordable housing. Problem is, how to balance it with the desire to become a ‘nicer’ neighborhood.
Yesterday morning there were a row of townhouses on the 400 block of Rhode Island by the Lowest Price Gas Station. Yesterday afternoon, gone. Now just a pile of rubble and construction equipment to make way for ‘The Danielle’. I’m quite sure The Danielle and the Urban Land Company’s Monique (wait, what is this girlie name crap?) on the same square will go well together.