Affordable Chapman Stables?

Screen Capture of http://opendata.dc.gov/ data set of Affordable Housing

I started searching because the Open Data DC.gov site has a map so you can find affordable housing projects in the District. So I went to the side and drilled down to Truxton Circle.

So I saw Chapman Stables was in there and there are supposed to be 11 affordable unit of the 100 plus units. Six units are at 31%-50% AMI and 5 units at 61%-80% AMI.

But then I wondered. Wait. Condos have condo fees. These fees can start off reasonable and then if something happens creep or jump up. Then I wondered what do these affordable units look like? Are they segregated from the other units, like some apartment buildings?

So I went a looking at the DC property sales database to look at what sold below the $300K advertized basement price. This is public information, but I’m not going to use names or unit numbers. I found 5 units, they are not all on the same level, and they are not all studios. The first was sold on October 9th for $237,400 is a corner two bedroom unit. I noticed several of these affordable units share a wall with some common space things, like stairwells. Three units were sold for $114,600 in 2018. Two of those are one bedrooms and one is a studio.  The one bedrooms share a wall with a common space thing and the studio is well, a studio. And lastly a one bedroom unit sold for $214,300.00 on October 16, 2018, and it only shares walls with other units.

The monthly condo fee for a one bedroom is $362. The fee for a typical studio is less than $300, and for a two bedroom in the $600 range. Remember kids, the condo fee is in addition to the mortgage and real estate taxes. I don’t know if the buyers of the affordable units get to pay a reduced fee or must pay the same rate as the market rate buyers, because everyone must contribute to the maintenance, trash, and all that other good stuff.

Also, let’s look at the categories of 31% to 50% AMI and 61% to 80% AMI. This is more about the buyer of the unit than the unit. Six units are for 31-50% AMI. According to the Department of Housing and Community Development’s chart that’s an income ceiling of $41,000 for a single person and $46,900 for a household of two. On the off chance the two bedroom was available for this category, a household of four’s limit is $58,600. There is nothing for the 51-60% AMI group.  Five units were set aside for the 61-80% AMI group and the ceilings are $65,650, $75,000, $84,400 and $93,750 for households of one, two, three and four persons.

There is another condo in Truxton that is not yet completed, which has just 2 affordable units for 61-80% AMI, and that is Compass’ Five Points Flats. I have no clue as to what the condo fees for this thing will be.

It is easy for me to imagine single teachers, non-profit workers, civil servants, or savvy retirees, being able to fit into these income categories AND keep up with the HOA/condo fees.  What I cannot see is how people who are in those AMI groups find out the availability and price of these units. As I see with Chapman Stables, they did manage to find those units.

Momblogging in over at DC Area Mom’s Blog

I’m going to try to limit the posts relating to parenting at InShaw and decided to join a local mom’s blog. So a month or so ago I joined DC Area Mom’s Blog and I am one of 12 new contributors.

I already have a post up, “3 Upsides of Being an Older Mom/Dad“.

However there are parent related issues that will remain here. Such as my support for the concept of charter schools in DC. I’ve seen too many neighbors vote with their feet soon after the postive pregnancy test. DCPS should not take the children (and their parents/guardians) for granted. And I remember the bad old days. Also there are things that are just too hyperlocal like the Florida Avenue park, the Kennedy Playground and the like that wouldn’t be a good fit. Which reminds me, there is a certain style that I’m learning for the other blog, so thing with a harsher tone would probably stay here.

1957 Church Survey: Hemingway Temple AME

1957ChurchMap
I thought I had a photo of this church, but I don’t and I don’t feel like snatching one off of Google Street view, but plug in 501 P St NW and you can see the building that is there. Or you can go to the church’s Facebook page and see photos of the church there.

Church Survey Northwest Urb… by on Scribd

So I’m trying something new here. Putting the PDFs on Scribd, so I can share this. So let’s go over the church’s info shall we?

It reported having 175 members with 85 showing up for regular worship service. For those of you unfamiliar with church attendance, not everyone shows up every week. You’ve got once a week, once a month, and once everyso often members. Depending on the church, some people can remain on membership rolls long after they’ve moved to another church or stopped attending all together. Also some people attend and don’t become members. So there is that.

There is another section about membership, that’s the juicy part, if the info is there. It is a black church. That’s sort of in the name, AME, African Methodist Episcopal church, but they identify as “negro” church. Unfortunately, they don’t describe the geographic disbursement of the membership, so I don’t know if this is a neighborhood or commuter church. However, later in the report, at the end, they mention the location is central to it’s membership, which hints that it may be more of a local commuter church. I add ‘local’ as in not in the neighborhood, but having people commute by foot or bus from nearby neighborhoods. This is the 50s, people would send their kids to walk to school miles away, in the snow, uphill, both ways. The occupational distribution is also interesting, as the church reports membership being 50% white collar and 40% unskilled labor.

So what do you think about this church history?

 

Church spot gone condo: Scripture Cathedral

1957ChurchMap

Looking at the 1957 Northwest Church Survey, Scripture Cathedral did not exist. It would have been at 9th and O Streets Northwest. But the only thing on that block was a storefront church called Christ’s United Baptist Church at 1329 9th St NW, now an outreach center. So historically, in my opinion, this means it can’t claim a rich history with the neighborhood. And I don’t feel like researching it to see if this was  a post riot church. Looking at the website for Scripture Cathedral, currently in PG County, they don’t provide a useful history, or details.

Boarded Up Cathedral    Former Church Spot- Condos

The website for the condo building replacing it has plenty of details about the condos, ranging from $600K to $2 million.

The usual narrative would be Black church replaced by rich (let’s just assume) white condo owners, and then we are supposed to feel bad about losing people who park poorly in the neighborhood. Instead let’s go with ‘yay, new neighbors who may be overpaying for their home.’ Seriously, people still get shot a block or so away on 7th Street, and they can come home from the Mt. Vernon metro assaulted by the smell of K2 in the air.

Looking at the whole volume of the October 1957 Northwest Church Survey, there are plenty of churches that no longer exist. Churches that may have left because they ended their normal church lifecycle. Churches that picked up and moved before and after the riots, and before and after ‘gentrification.’ Neighborhoods change.

Unemployment for Furloughs- I’m probably not doing this right

So….. this furlough thing is longer than I’ve experienced, and I’ve been through several government shutdowns. Am I worried. For my family, we have resources that I would prefer not tapping. In the past, I’d just wait the shutdown out. I have no friggin clue when this will end.

So what’s a gal to do? Apply for unemployment.

My first time ever. I’ve been getting a W-2 for 30+ years (dang, I’m old) and, well, this is new.

Since the Bureau of Fight Club* is in DC and I live in DC, I’ve applied for unemployment on-line with the DC Department of Employment Services  (DOES) to start the process.

Links from DC DOES led me to the DC Networks website https://www.dcnetworks.org/vosnet/Default.aspx . I checked to make sure the .org site was okay as it was asking for my social security number and banking information for direct deposit. Not knowing what the heck I was doing, I filled out the claim.

Good thing I checked my Spam folder. That’s where, so far, all my emails from DOES seems to go.

Poking around I found this FAQ for furloughed government employees. Wish I saw this earlier….. Well those forced to work are screwed…. And I shouldn’t expect any money quickly. There is some documentation I’m supposed to supply, but I don’t see where I’m supposed to upload my 2017 W-2, my SF-50 and 5 pay stubs. There is something about emailing those things, but I think those have my SS# on them and there is no way in HELL I’m emailing that. I’ll fax it once I figure out how to get the fax machine/printer to work.

Another FAQ- https://does.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/does/page_content/attachments/INSTRUCTIONS%20FOR%20COMPLETING%20THE%20CONTINUED%20CLAIM%20FORM_updated%207.28.2016_0.pdf

 

*This is what I call my agency, because of some stupid rule. However, via LinkedIn, I see some of my fellow Fight Clubbies have told local media which agency they are with.

I Suck as a Hausfrau

View down Florida Avenue
Random picture of Florida Avenue NW

Well. If this furlough as proven anything, I suck as a housewife. I do not have what it takes to be a stay at home mom. I need to get back to work. This shutdown has lasted way too long.

The house is not cleaner than normal. I’ve scrubbed the kitchen floor several times, but somebody who will go unnamed, keeps throwing banana slices on the floor. Then somebody else who isn’t paying attention, steps on the slice or the sticky left over from the banana and tracks it all over the 1st floor.

The handywoman list of things to do, still undone. I haven’t fixed the sink. I have an excuse, I’m sick, with a cold. And I don’t wanna. The light needs me to have the ladder brought up and someone to spot me. That’s the negative to high ceilings, looks great but a pain to replace the lights.

The SAHM thing is not a thing for me, right now. When he’s not sick or school isn’t closed, Destruct-o-Baby still goes to daycare. He’s not waiting till 2 yo to be terrible. The holidays and other days when he’s stayed home with me, have not made me yearn to be with him all day. The laid back chill baby we brought home is gone, replaced by a loud, moody, whirlwind of energy (thus the name Desctruct-o-Baby) who throws food. Maybe if this had happened when he was still immobile, I might have fallen in love with the idea of hanging out with him all day, everyday. So yeah, he’s still going to daycare. I’m afraid if I pull him out we will lose our spot. We lucked out and weren’t on a waiting list to begin with, so not gonna screw with a good thing. If this lasts longer than 2 months, we might see if he can go part-time. Please Lord, don’t let this thing go longer than 2 months.

I am cooking more. I guess this is where I shine in one of the housewifery skills. Normally, one of us does 3 nights, and the other 3 nights and Wednesday is for sandwiches. Sandwiches are perfectly fine for dinner in this house. I’m doing all nights. Nothing fancy, but I did make some paneer cheese for palak paneer. No sandwiches, unless I plan for some fancy schmancy sandwiches like monte cristos or BLTs.

Thankfully, the Help has not complained about my hausfrau skills. Destruct-o has been complaining non-stop, but he started that before the shutdown.

 

Furloughed Workers Bread for the City Has Groceries 4U

I’m feeling lazy so I’m just going to copy and paste what I got:

For nearly 45 years, Bread for the City has shown up for D.C., and D.C. has shown up for us. With help from our community, we assist tens of thousands of D.C. residents living with low income each and every year. As the government shutdown enters its third week, it’s time for us to show up again. We want furloughed workers to know that Bread for the City is here for you, too.

If you are a District of Columbia resident and are a furloughed federal worker or federal contractor currently out of work because of the furlough, you can visit our NW or SE Centers for a five day supply of groceries.  In addition, our medical clinic, located in our NW Center is currently accepting new patients. Visit our services page for more information including hours of operation and documents we will need you to bring in.

To our current clients: Bread for the City will continue to be here for you too. 

To those of you who are donors or volunteers: When the government does not meet its obligations to the people, organizations like ours are all the more important. If this shutdown continues and more people have no choice but to seek out organizations like Bread for the City, our existing resources — particularly the food program — may be pushed to their limit.  In these trying times for so many, if you’re able to give just a little more to help your neighbors, please give today.

And if you’re a furloughed worker looking for something positive to do in the midst of this crisis, we’re always looking for volunteers. Visit breadforthecity.org/volunteer to find out how you can help.

Thank you for all that you do to support our Washington, D.C. community.

Why you can’t compare a pre-gentrification house to today

Vacant house on P
214 P St NW with broken windows in 2008.

When I read studies about housing, housing stock and affordable housing, as it applies to areas like Shaw, I can’t help feeling there is a very wrong assumption flowing through them all. I encountered, that feeling when talking to a renter on my street who would love to buy, but was unaware of what some of us did to make affordable homes livable, and once they became livable, unaffordable to people like him. A house that was affordable in Shaw in the 80s or 90s is probably not the same house that stands today.

In the 1940s-50s Shaw was described as a slum. A slum was defined in some writings as an area where a significant number of houses lacked indoor plumbing or interior toilets, thus slummy Shaw. I want you, dear reader, to think about that. Living somewhere, when you have to go, you’ve got to go….. outside. But now there are laws and regulations so when you rent a place, you get that fancy pants indoor bathroom with hot water.

But there are other housing deficiencies that houses in the 90s and early 00s suffered from because of the history of disinvestment in the neighborhood. Disinvestment meaning, landlords and homeowners had no incentive to maintain properties, beyond necessity, with little to no equity gained. Not updating kitchens, or electrical wiring, or plumbing, resulting in cramped little kitchens, wiring that would fry your electronics, and leaky pipes.

Renovation_0045
House under renovation.

Then came the renovations and the gentrification. Some were crappy and cosmetic, like my house when I bought it, and some actually fixed long neglected problems or updated systems. Even crappy renovations cost money and those costs are pushed onto the end user, the home buyer or the renter. Yes, there are places where there has been no, to little reinvestment, and the prices act as if there were.

So next time you read a report that assumes the equity gained due to gentrification is unearned, question if the house that was affordable in year X is of the same quality, with the same features, when it is unaffordable in year Y.

Church Survey Northwest Urban Renewal Area October 1957

Church at P and 6th NWA copy of the National Capital Planning Commission’s October 1957 Church Survey that I copied part of is sitting on DDot’s website. But it is a partial copy of the whole report. One of my bad habits, not citing where I got the document, has bitten me in the butt, and I never got around to copying the whole thing. Until now.

Thanks to interlibrary loans, I have been able to get my hands on a copy from a college library several states away. I don’t know why I couldn’t find a copy of this book locally.

The Church Survey has data on 108 63 churches that were in the Northwest Urban Renewal Area. The powers that be decided to shrink the urban renewal area down, and out of it, we get the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area, that became known simply as Shaw.1957ChurchMap

The survey looked at all kinds of religious houses, from steeple churches, storefront churches to house churches. There are several churches mentioned in the 1957 survey that no longer exist. I notice this as I copy each page. A lot can happen in 62 years. There are others where the church changed hands or names. The quality of the surveys vary from church to church. Some entries give great demographic information about the church, parishioners, staff, and programing. Most entries give the address of the pastor, size of membership, a short list of types of programs, and publicly available information. The sparse entries are just publicly available land information and maybe whatever could be observed from the outside.

So far my plan is to copy the whole book, splice in what I previously copied and, since it was a government document, put it on-line.

So the Government is Closed- Longterm Plans

Capitol in My HandsThis is a personal blog and I am a federal employee who has found she has more time on her hands. But this is not a woe is me post. Nah, this is my 6th government shutdown. I’d been employed less than a year when I survived the 1995-1996 shutdowns (5 and 21 days) as a GS-5 step 1 temp employee with fresh student loans. The 21 day shutdown between December 5, 1995-January 6, 1996 was bad, but I survived. Somewhere in the archives of the Washington Post, there is a quote of the younger me bitching about it.

Mentally, I’m prepping for a long shutdown and praying for something shorter. Thankfully this time around there is another income to lean on. Typically, although there is no guarantee, we get paid, eventually for those shutdown days. Knowing that the contractors I work with, who do building maintenance, security, and other stuff won’t get paid, at all, makes it really hard for me to feel bad for myself and most other feds.

So in the vein of when life hands you lemons, make lemonade, or lemon tea, or lemon pasta, I’m making the most of it. On the first real day of the shutdown the Help and I went on a day-date and saw a movie. The rest of the week has been mainly about cleaning. Deep cleaning. The kind of cleaning a maid service typically won’t do. We got one of those dinner and a movie gift cards, so we may see another movie. If the shutdown goes past January 3rd, I informed the Help he was going to get a very expensive hausfrau. I may tackle somethings I’ve been avoiding, some sink repair, window cleaning, and bookshelf dusting (requires moving a ton of books and my MILs ashes).

I’ll probably check out some Shaw stuff, but seriously, there are a lot deferred cleaning jobs around the house demanding my attention. And now those unpaid jobs have it.