Help your lower income neighbors save on phone, electric and gas

This is sorta kinda related to Are You Really Middle Class? Or not, depending on your read of this.

At the last BACA meeting someone from the DC government’s Public Service Commission came by and gave out tote bags. Since we’ve gutted those bags and removed the helpful info contained, I figured it would be right to share this with y’all before we chuck it into the recycling bin.

If someone makes under the RES & RAD Income Guidelines (I’ll get to that later) they can get $3 a month land line, up to 30% off of their PEPCO bills, and 25% off from their gas bill. Water is run by the city so nothing for you there.

RAD is Residential Aid Discount and RES is Residential Essential Service. And like figuring out if you’re middle class or poor, it all depends on household size.

Household Size Maximum Annual Income
1 $30,776
2 $40,245
3 $49,715
4 $59,184
5 $66,653
6 $78,123
7 $79,898
8 $81,674

Now you must wonder, how does one apply to this great program? Well apparently you call DDOE via 311, or the Public Service Commission at 202-626-5120.  For the cheaper phone line you have to participate in certain federal programs, what federal programs I do not know, but call 1-800-253-0846 and ask about Economy II. What barriers there may be to actually get these discounts I have no idea. But know they exist.

Clever Parlor

Corner Art gallery/ tattoo parlorSo the Help and I have been spending a lot of time in Baltimore, dealing with a rental property. So that’s why we found ourselves in the Washington Village (aka Pigtown) neighborhood on a Friday night. Taking a break from grouting a shower, we wandered out to get some dinner.

There is a mix of commercial and residential buildings on the main strip of Washington Blvd, and I had passed by this shop (pictured) several times. It looked like it was an art gallery that might want to be a low key skate shop.  That night the lights were bright and the art on the wall called out to me. At the time the shop’s operator was hanging out with some skinny art student, sketching a drawing, in the door and invited us to come in.

We came in to take a closer look at the canvases on the wall and the t-shirts in the cubes. My dear spouse, the Help, is a super chatty fellow and began chatting up the operator, who explained that they feature different artists’ work and the owner’s tattoo art.

Holy crap we’ve walked into a tattoo parlor.

Clever!

Very clever. People tend to object to tattoo parlors in their neighborhoods because, face it many tattoo storefronts have the charm of a low rent pawn shop. However, art galleries are cool and people like art galleries. Tattoo artists are artists and it totally makes sense to have them in an art gallery! And it makes sense to have their art alongside other artists.

I think this, having a gallery/parlor, would make sense in other areas where a tattoo parlor wants to come in and pretty up the neighborhood.

Are you really middle class?

4 bills and changeSo the Post has an article about middle class incomes rising and mentioned the national median income for 2016 was $59,039. Keep in mind that is for a household, this will become important later.

The median income for the DC Metro area is way higher. Twice as high, at $110,300 for 2017 according to HUD. You might be thinking, I don’t make that much, who the hell is making that money? Well remember this is for households, those incomes are typically for a four person household. This may be two working adults and two kids, or one extremely well paid working adult and 3 dependents.

If you’re a singleton, the AMI is $77,300, pat yourself on the back you are definitely middle class in DC.  If you’re single in DC making $52,550 or less you are low income (80% AMI). An annual income of $38,650 or less, you are very low income (50% AMI) and $23,200, you’re poor (extremely low income).  I will leave it to you to decide if at 80% AMI  (Area Median Income) you are middle class or not.

Using the Federal government’s salary table the good news is for the DC-Baltimore area there are no full time poor workers. Same thing for MPD police who are in the union, the base salary for a Class 1 officer (2015) is $53,750. That puts them in the 80% AMI region if they have 1 dependent. A starting teacher for DCPS with just a BA should get $51,359 annually. So when someone promoting workforce housing proposes having income limits at the very low income level (50% AMI) and says it’s for teachers and police officers, they are full of $hit. Even a family of four would make too much at the 50% level after the lowliest teacher’s 5th year or for a teacher with a MA 2nd year of service and a cop’s second year, assuming their spouse (if any) wasn’t working.

Being in the 80% AMI range can be a pretty sweet spot. Just before I bought my house I was below the 80% AMI and was able to qualify for a bunch of housing programs. There was a property tax abatement I qualified for that lasted about 5 years until I made just a smidge too much and the low interest rate mortgage from DCHFA. Neighbors at the 80% AMI are the kind of people you want. If they are young it is only a few years before they are at or above the AMI.

Did you park on P Street & get a ticket?

Blue, Red, Cream housesI’m just going to pass along ANC Bradley Thomas’ email, just in case you’re not on his list.

From: Thomas, Bradley Ashton (SMD 5E05)
Sent: Friday, September 1, 2017 11:10:24 AM
To: Thomas, Bradley Ashton (SMD 5E05)
Subject: Ticketed for Parking on the South Side of P Street near to Friendship-Armstrong School?

Good Morning All:

It has come to my attention that many cars have recently been ticketed for parking on the south side of the 100 block of P Street, NW.  I’m told that as many as ten cars were ticketed on Thursday morning for violating the new “No Parking School Days” restriction in the block.

Last Tuesday, I had a conference call with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), which is the agency that installed the new no-parking signs on Sunday, August 13th.  On the call were administrators from Friendship-Armstrong Public Charter School and a representative from the Mayor’s office.  It came out in that discussion that the No Parking signs should not have been put in place as no one, not the school, not the Mayor’s office, not me speaking on behalf of the community, asked for them and that there was in fact no legitimate reason for them to be erected.  DDOT then agreed to remove the signs based on letters from the school administrators and me.  That removal should take place within two weeks or less.

Since the signs were unnecessarily placed and, as I indicated on the conference call, place an unreasonable burden on residents, I believe we have good cause to have any tickets issued for this violation vacated.  If you received such a ticket, please scan the ticket and e-mail it to me.  I can’t promise anything but I will put all of the tickets together and petition the Board of Traffic Adjudication or Mayor Bowser to waive or vacate them.  

If you don’t have the capacity to scan, you can make a copy of the ticket and get that to me.  Let me know if you need to do it that way and we can connect.  Also, I only have e-mail addresses for about 10 percent of the residents in our SMD so if you have neighbors who received tickets for this alleged violation and who might not receive this e-mail message, please have them get their tickets to me too. 

Thanks, and remember, we are having a short (one hour) Single Member District meeting next Saturday, 9:30 am, at Dunbar, so please come if you can.

Bradley A. Thomas
Commissioner-ANC5E05