The poor you will always have with you

The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want.
That phrase came to my mind during the BACA meeting when Jim Berry was questioning Mr. Dugger of the North Capitol Collaborative. Jim asked if NCC’s services were still needed with the (demographic) changes that have been going on in the neighborhood. Mr. Dugger answered yes, there are still those who still need services.
Despite the changes, the crazed rise in property values, the chic hipster/yuppie stores on 14th, the new sit down restaurants and the exodus of many working (and non-working) poor, there will still be a few poor that will remain. There’s public housing in NW DC, even in gentrifying areas, there are also a few apartments that are affordable because of one program or deal or another. In Shaw alone there is the Foster House (801 Rhode Island Ave NW); the Northwest Cooperatives; Gibson Plaza (1301 7th St NW); Ashbury Dwellings (1616 Marion St NW); Lincoln Westmoreland I (1730 7th St NW) and Westmoreland II (1711 8th St NW); Immaculate Conception (1330 7th St NW); Kesley Gardens (700 Q St NW) and many more affordable housing units. Even if residents there have found some work stability they are still close to the edge and may need to have services available to them.
It is the individual houses, the townhomes, that are changing from poor to middle and upper middle class. The larger affordable housing apartment buildings that manage to stay “affordable” don’t change. I see a future Shaw that is primarily middle and upper middle class with small islands of working class and poor folk. So they will remain with us.
But there is a second part to this “and you can help them any time you want.” We have the power to ease their burden or make life very difficult. We can help ease the burden by supporting those agencies and non-profits that come in to help them. There are probably another dozen thing (that don’t come to mind now) that we can do to help the working poor in our community. But at the least we need to keep in mind that just because the neighborhood is changing, it has not become a economically homogeneous place.