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?