Proposed Low(er) Income Development in Eckington

Background from DC North: “Collaborating with Catholic Community Services, St. Martin’s plans to spend some $25 million to construct 180 apartments on two acres off T Street NE near where Todd and Summit streets intersect. Fifty junior one-bedroom units are designated for renters earning between $18,000 and $20,000 annually. The rest are designed for families with incomes ranging from about $30,000 to about $53,000.”

It’s a tough topic. On one hand, I think that affordable workforce housing is very needed in DC and the right form of it can truly benefit the city.

However, high density, low income rental housing has proven not to be the “steppingstone” that ANC Commissioner Cleopatra Jones claims it is in the DC North article. What DC really needs are homeownership programs targeting those that are priced out of the market.

This area of DC has more than paid its dues with low income rentals, group homes, halfway houses and a mixed bag of cooperatives. Too high a concentration of low income housing without an ownership stake can block development in a community. Heck, even low income housing with an ownership stake can turn problematic (Sursum Corda). The North Capitol corridor can already check the low income housing box. Why don’t we diversify by adding something new to the area?

So here’s my suggestion. Quit putting low income housing on the N. Cap corridor. We have enough of it already. Friendship Heights has very little. Let’s share the economic diversity of the N. Cap corridor with the other parts of DC that sorely need it. Like Spring Valley. Or Cleveland Park.

Instead of having Vincent Orange going up there and providing cheap gas for the affluent folks, why don’t we send him up there on a fact finding trip to locate an alternative site for the next low income housing endeavor?

Is this thing on? Tap, tap, tap.

It’s great to be able to move from the peanut gallery of commenters to a “contributing” position with In Shaw. However, I still believe I’m the peanut gallery.

As a recent commenter on the “The State of the In Shaw blog” post has indicated, this blog and were also factors in my decision to move to the area. I felt that of all the areas of DC that were currently in transition, the community here was unique, was relatively well organized, had similar values and were committed to improving the area. That is not to say that other areas don’t share some of those qualities… I just felt that if I was putting roots down in a transitional part of the city, this is where I wanted to do it for a large number of reasons. This blog in particular also helped me understand some of the issues to the area before moving in and I realized that none were so great that a little time and community involvement couldn’t overcome them. Since being here I’ve really come to appreciate how the blog accurately reflects life in Eastern Shaw and that it accurately reflects the community building efforts of this part of DC.

It’s true that Eastern Shaw is full of quirks and, often, humorous situations. But there are also issues that are citywide problems that still need to be addressed. I’m convinced the blog helps the community come together around those problems by fostering discussions and promoting awareness. There will obviously be disagreements on many of the major issues and that’s just fine—let’s just have the conversations.

There are a lot of exciting things happening in Eastern Shaw, along North Capitol St., Bloomingdale, Eckington, and in other surrounding neighborhoods. I believe that the coming years will bring even more positive changes to the area and I look forward to (most of) the coming changes with great hopes.

That’s it for now. I’ll try to post in the future whenever I have something worth sharing. Last but not least, thanks for the microphone, Mari!