Greater Greater Washington

Anacostia shelter ignores community, starts construction

Since plans were announced abruptly this summer, Anacostia residents have been pushing for a dialogue about a planned women's shelter on Good Hope Road SE. Calvary Women's Service, the organization behind the shelter, has ignored the community at every turn. Meanwhile, construction began on the future "Good Hope Kitchen" last week.


A women's shelter in the heart of the Anacostia Business District.

Opposition to the shelter has grown since the community was first notified, through an email from DC Council Chairman Kwame Brown touting the future arrival of the shelter.

The building, previously an Elks Club, employment training center, and Post Office, was purchased by Calvary this January for $950,000. Zoned as Class C-3-A, the building has a "buy right use" which does not require rezoning to provide supportive housing. As a result, the community has no leverage to prevent the project from going forward.

Community opposition & political malaise

On June 30th, Greta Fuller, ANC8A03, sent Calvary a letter stating her resistance. "Bringing another social service to the business corridor of Anacostia will make it all the more difficult to bring in more businesses and shop owners."

On August 18th, the entire 8A Advisory Neighborhood Commission sent DC Council Chairman Kwame Brown a letter requesting a meeting with CWS as pursuant to DC statute. Along with the letter were 22 pages of support petitions representing several hundred residents.


Construction has begun on 1217-1219 Good Hope Rd. SE.
"It's disappointing the parties involved don't think it's worth their time to sit down with the community that is affected to engage in a conversation," said Charles Wilson, ANC8A04. "After repeatedly denying our request to meet, it shows that Calvary could care less about how we feel or what we think."

"We don't have any authority to intervene. This needs to be resolved by the executive." said Joyce Clement Smith, Chief of Staff to Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry. Noting the growing unrest of the community, Smith said, "We are clearly aware of the opposition."

Councilmember Barry struck a different tone yesterday in a twitter message, but this political rhetoric may be too little, too late.

To compound the community's frustration, in October Calvary launched a "grassroots fundraising campaign" to raise $100,000 in 100 days to support the building of the facility's kitchen. Kristine Thompson, Calvary's Executive Director, did not respond to repeated emails.

According to the press release announcing the campaign, "The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation has been the first to commit their support to the Good Hope Kitchen by offering a $50,000 matching gift for funds raised through project." In response to an inquiry about what weight the community's lack of support for the shelter played in the grant evaluation process, Rose Ann Cleveland, Executive Director of the Cafritz Foundation, wrote in an email, "I would suggest that you contact directly Ms. Kristine Thompson, the executive director of Calvary. She is the best source for information on the transitional housing program for women that Calvary provides and knows most about the many donors that support Calvary's efforts."

Good Hope Road SE: "Anything you want!"

The community's discontentment stems from its gnawing angst that further concentration of social service agencies will undermine Historic Anacostia's fledgling business district. With the high profile Uniontown Bar and Grill facing an uncertain future, Anacostia's retail future is all the more precarious.

"Everything they do for this community is to get people over, under it, around it, and through it," said Reverend Oliver Johnson, a lifelong Anacostian and former ANC Commissioner, on a recent morning.

District leaders' silence on the shelter project only reinforces residents' feelings that politicians view Anacostia as a social service dumping ground. This taciturn endorsement of the convergence of relief agencies in Anacostia makes the neighborhood indeterminably unattractive to young families, a demographic vital to the city's future says Johnson.

"Here's the issue about any community that has rehabilitation as its primary function. You got St. Elizabeths Hospital - the only community in the city that has a mental health hospital - that releases to the streets. You got the largest methadone treatment clinic here, and the people from Virginia who don't have methadone [clinics] anymore are coming here to DC."

The commerce that defined the Anacostia of Johnson's youth - a full fledged grocery store, movie theater, People's Drug store, and multiple clothing stores - is nearly gone, dominated by non-profits, carry-outs, street hustlers, and mendicants.

"I have a three year old grand son," says Johnson, "and when I walk him down Good Hope Road, people say, 'Singles and packs. Anything you want!' My grandson asks, 'Grandpa, what's that?' And I tell him, 'They're selling single cigarettes and drugs.'"

"Then we walk up the street. A man approaches and says, 'Gotta dollar? Got fifty cents?' My grandson asks, 'What is he doing?' I tell him he's begging," Johnson said. "I had one of the people say to my grandson, 'Gotta learn how to hustle!' I stopped and said my grandson is three years old. I said, 'Don't you know I will exercise some parking lot fellowship on you that you ain't never seen.'"

"So what happens is, you got a 900 hundred people per day methadone clinic, The Good Hope Institute, you have a 12 step program for AA/NA called the Anacostia Young People's club. And now this Kitchen. Everybody has a clean name. Nobody says who they are. They all have a clean socially acceptable name."

According to Calvary's website, the 14,000 square foot project comes at a price tag of $3 million and "will transform an abandoned building in Anacostia into a new home that will serve 50 women a night and provide 100 meals a day."

While the investment is needed in Anacostia, the kind of use is not. No matter the redemptive mission of the shelter, its presence has the potential to be detrimental to the community in the long run. Additionally, Calvary's refusal to meet with the community hasn't allayed residents and property owners' trepidations.

In the 70s and 80s, old center cities across the country discovered that headquartering human and social service agencies downtown dashed hopes of economic recovery. It would appear DC is now poised to re-learn this lesson in Historic Anacostia.

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John Muller is an associate librarian, journalist and historian. He has written two books, Frederick Douglass in Washington, DC, Mark Twain in Washington, DC, and also writes at Death and Life of Old Anacostia

Comments

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Waiting for the citypaper nimby in 5..4....

by nimby on Dec 14, 2011 12:42 pm • linkreport

Do you perhaps mean a "by right" use in paragraph 3?

by Peter on Dec 14, 2011 1:08 pm • linkreport

Is anyone opposed to the shelter offering an alternative? What would the "conversation" requested by Mr. Wilson consist of?

by jim on Dec 14, 2011 1:19 pm • linkreport

@Jim

Persuade Calvary to finally (after 6 months of asking) meet with the community and then you can find out what our alternative is.

Calvary Women's Services

On Twitter: @CalvaryWomenDC
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/calvaryservices
Phone: (202) 289-2111
Email: kthompson@calvaryservices.org

Address: 925 5th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001

Please send CWS the message:

@calvarywomendc be a good neighbor, meet w/ Anacostia to discuss the Good Hope Rd shelter. http://www.congressheightsontherise.com/2011/12/construction-proceeds-on-anacostia.html

by The Advoc8te on Dec 14, 2011 1:29 pm • linkreport

@the advocate...

Pretty childish response no?

Why should I or anyone else care what you want or what your alternative is with that kind of attitude?

And I am sorry, unless your proposal starts with the offer to pay them a million bucks for the building they bought and finding them another location that allows them to open without needing any variances etc, then they really have no need to talk to you.

That’s life, we all have neighbors that do things that annoy us but as long as they are operating within the letter of the law, then you have zero say. You want to change it, then get the law changed.

You keep claiming you want them to "be neighborly" when I would consider sheltering 50 women and feeding them being as neighborly as it gets.

by freely on Dec 14, 2011 1:46 pm • linkreport

I've been long-meaning to use "shelter shocked" in casual conversation...

by Bossi on Dec 14, 2011 1:49 pm • linkreport

Calvery is a well respected women's shelter. I don't think that their presence on Good Hope Road is a direct correlation to preventing economic development of the area. N Street Village is right in the the heart of the bustling Logan Circle neighborhood, and its presence and the women who recover there certainly didn't stifle the economic redevelopment of that area. Martha's Table hasn't impacted the redevelopment further up 14th street, and they now own several storefronts, which they use for social services. Also, see Miriam's Kitchen, which no one can argue has diminished the development of the Foggy Bottom area.

by Annie on Dec 14, 2011 2:00 pm • linkreport

The community's discontentment stems from its gnawing angst that further concentration of social service agencies will undermine Historic Anacostia's fledgling business district

Isn't this, though, the preferred outcome? There is generally a fair amount of opposition to new commercial businesses opening because it will increase traffic and reduce available parking. Calvary's presence won't create those problems.

by JustMe on Dec 14, 2011 2:13 pm • linkreport

I guess it was only a matter of time before classism started making its way into black communities.

by nbluth on Dec 14, 2011 2:17 pm • linkreport

@Annie

All of your observations are on point. But the beast of a monster that is this particular strip of Good Hope Road is another world.

Also, if this story is right, why hasnt Calvary met with the neighborhood to at least share their vision? If they reached out to the neighbors maybe the shelter could recruit some volunteers, an extra hand, maybe some resources that people could find compelled to offer if they felt their viewpoint was considered. DC is a meeting heavy town... something doesn't seem right here. Where there's smoke you know the rest.

And, it is unfair to lump all shelters together. 801 East and NY Ave are wild. CCNV is not as. But Food kitchens and shelters are different. Miriam's and Martha's aren't shelters, to be technical.

All in all this is a catch-22 for Anacostia with the property values. Ward 3 is to expensive so (most) everything is dropped east of the Anacostia. And because of this the property values stay low.

by From 20001 to 20032 on Dec 14, 2011 2:18 pm • linkreport

Not to infuse race into this, but "nbluth" must either be joking or not a member of the black community. Classism has existed for a long time...in all communities.

This is not a good environment to put folks trying to recover from homelessness no matter how induced.

by MadeItOutOfSE on Dec 14, 2011 2:23 pm • linkreport

Freely, give me a break.

How's about they move into YOUR business district and set up shop? You sound like you'd welcome loitering by the men who wait outside for the women so they can harass and otherwise harm them (since it's hard to hide in a shelter that's right on the main drag). Don't think it happens? Just ask anyone who's volunteered at a shelter how many times they've had to call 911 because of some angry ex who's found out where his wife/girlfriend is hiding out for her safety. You'd better believe it's not a good idea to try to find protection on a main street.

It's OK, you say? Why? Because it's Anacostia?

Don't think that Calvary doesn't rake in loads of dough, either. According to their Form 990 (public info) they bring in over $1M yearly, which is very good for a non-profit. Considering the size of the building on Good Hope Road, space isn't a consideration; it's all political with them. They know they'd get a real fight trying to pull off the same nonsense in any other ward.

Remember what happened when Central Union Mission tried to force a shelter on Georgia Avenue, which was just beginning to be revitalized at the time?

This is so wrong it feels almost like a deliberate attempt to undermine any progress made in Anacostia. Even worse, Calvary seems to care nothing about the dignity and safety of the women they intend to house. Why on Earth would anyone place a vulnerable population right on a main street where they can be exposed to any and all type of harm?

Anacostia deserves at least that much respect.

You say that unless money is involved they shouldn't feel obligated to talk to anyone. Well, let me tell you, the first time something happens to one of those women, they'll be talking plenty to the media.

Believe that.

by Alice Thornton on Dec 14, 2011 2:24 pm • linkreport

@Alice/Advocate.

1. I collectively volunteer 8-9 days a year spread between 2 DC shelters, and have for a dozen years, so lets stop with the false indignation shall we?

2. You've made your point. You and your ilk have said publically you don't want them there. They know that, and with screeds like yours above, why would they bother meeting with you? You've made it very clear it would be nothing but a full on bit&^ing session, what in the world do they have to gain? They don't need your approval nor apparently care and your so called being a "good neighbor
" is simply disguise for you getting your way.

3. Do you have an alternative location for them? If so, where?

4. What are your alternatives in general? You want to the publics support for your cause, you have to inform them of what it is.

by freely on Dec 14, 2011 2:39 pm • linkreport

Interestingly, something I plan to get around to writing about is this: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-state-of-nova/post/arlington-to-buy-building-for-homeless-shelter/2011/12/14/gIQAicXutO_blog.html

and the reaction.

E.g., for years I've thought that we should cover SRO and other types of housing in our community planning efforts.

I also think that the overconcentration argument is one that can and should be used vis-a-vis the ADA holding wrt these types of facilities.

I don't know the nature of the other community service facilities in that area, whether or not this one would be particularly bad, etc.

I will say that my experience with shelters--I used to live on the same block and within a few hundred feet of one in the H Street neighborhood--is that it is mostly about the type of shelter it is and the quality of the management.

As a night service only shelter, Blair Shelter was a scourge on the community. People were released in the morning, and hung out in the neighborhood as there are few if any complementary day programs.

For more than 10 years, Blair Shelter has operated as a rung in a three stage program of drug rehabilitation. The shelter program is extremely structured and highly managed. People have daytime assignments/work etc. They aren't released in an unstructured way, and if not for the occasional ambulance, and back when I lived there, frequent car washing ventures to make money, you wouldn't really know they are there.

(Interestingly, various factions within the neighborhood [mis]use the presence of the shelter to blame it for public drinking, loitering, etc. on H Street. Yet the reality is that there is no way the clients are the source of those problems on H Street. Their lives are super-structured, they are regularly drug and alcohol tested, etc.)

In short, I don't see how this particular program would have all that much of a negative effect, depending on its structure and management.

All you have to do is get the program to set up some kind of retail business where the people would work, and it would actually contribute in a very direct way to the environment that people want, providing a business that might not otherwise be open in the neighborhood, income and training opportunities for the clients, etc.

- http://www.dogwoodbaltimore.com/mission/apprenticeship-program/

- http://www.taharkabrothers.org/Programs/sylvan.html

- LAYC used to run some Ben & Jerry stores as a training venture. http://www.hitachifoundation.org/our-work/business-and-work-grants-program/grantees-in-action/stories-of-grantees-in-action/34-the-latin-american-youth-centerben-a-jerrys-partnershop

etc.

by Richard Layman on Dec 14, 2011 2:40 pm • linkreport

@Alice
If the disgruntled ex is going to find out where these women are anyway, wouldn't it be better for that shelter to be located in a busy neighborhood so there are more eyes on the street?

There may be in issue here with over concentration of these shelters. The problem is it's hard to oppose them individually. And I doubt it's a conspiracy that keeps placing these shelters in Anacostia. Anacostia is rather uniquely situated in terms of its ease of access (with a metro stop as well as several bus lines) and low rents. I also imagine many of these shelters perceive EotR to be roughly the center of the population they aim to serve. So I have to think many of these shelters are just individually making rational decisions on where to locate. Unfortunately it seems to mean that these shelters become concentrated.

And I can understand why they wouldn't want to meet. If they met with the community I doubt it would be very productive. The community would ask the shelter to not open there, the shelter would say no, and the community couldn't do anything to stop it.

by Steven Yates on Dec 14, 2011 2:47 pm • linkreport

@freely

I was not trying to be rude. I was being serious. We can't say what the "solution" is until we speak to Calvary because they have said NOTHING in all the months we have been asking them. There has been no dialogue (despite our numerous requests) and no outreach. I suspect that is because they were betting pretty heavily that we (Anacostia and Ward 8) don't have the resources or the avenues to solicit that much of an opposition.

Now I will say this, knowing how super critical some of the commenters on this blog can be (not you of course) no way was I going to fall for that trap of inquiring what the "solution" was just to have it torn to pieces. Nothing I (or anyone else who lives or works in Anacostia or Ward 8) could say would persuade others (who won't even drive through the neighborhood) that we might now what we are talking about. Instead of comparing Anacostia to these other neighborhoods who have homeless shelters (and who also have plenty of retail and restaurant options to balance it out)how about come to Anacostia and see what we are talking about, especially as it relates to social service and residential programs of which we have several. I don't care how you dress it up but a methadone clinic is not cute and that is exactly what is across the street, right across from a daycare.

Better still, come to Congress Heights where we already have a main street homeless shelter and see how well that is working out for us (it is not by the way). We get no assistance from the city, we can't even get trash cans on the street. The homeless are turned out at 7am in the morning to roam the neighborhood and sleep on MLK Ave until the shelter opens again at night. That is what adds to the perception by some that Congress Heights is the "ghetto," because we have become the dumping ground of the city's social service programs and shelters. Our concerns don't like with the homeless shelter itself it is the poor placement of it on the main street on a block that is already crowded with such programs. We need room to grow, we need a business corridor to offer some balance and that is what we have been working hard to do. For this to happen and CWS to keep us in the dark without as much as a note is not only frustrating it's is counter productive.

Speaking for me (and me alone) it is this lack of openmindeness and diversity in thought from some of the GGW commenters (not all of the commenters) that keeps those of us from a different racial, economic, and geographic perspective from participating as often in the GGW dialogue. Not that we all have to agree but the personal attacks and the judgement is just a bit much, at least for me. I don't need the headache and thus I just keep posting on my EotR blogs where most readers are at least familiar with our struggle (and geography) and aren't nearly as condescending.

This is probably going to be my last comment.

by The Advoc8te on Dec 14, 2011 2:59 pm • linkreport

@freely:

I collectively volunteer 8-9 days a year spread between 2 DC shelters, and have for a dozen years, so lets stop with the false indignation shall we?

That's admirable, and I don't really have a dog in this fight, but where do you live (in general)? I think a lot of folks in high-poverty areas would be more than willing to volunteer at a shelter for a few days a year in exchange for relocating the shelters in MD or VA.

by oboe on Dec 14, 2011 3:19 pm • linkreport

@Freely, with "what" attitude. Unless you know something the rest of us don't, it is a FACT that they've yet to meet with the community. So in response to a question asking what "alternative" or "conversation" the community would like, AD let us know that we haven't been allowed to offer a proposal because they've refused to meet. What is the more "friendly" thing to say?

Personally, I don't think any of us are interested in anything you have to say nor your opinion on whether we should have input on what goes on in our own daggone community, especially when you don't live there and (as long as I've been reading your posts) seem to have little interest in talking about our community beyond the negative. With "that" attitude? No we aren't interested.

This isn't just a married couple who decided to move next door. It's a building set to house women that may potentially bring with it all the issues associated with similar social services facilities.

You should be ashamed but considering your posts and the million-dollar income you derive from the city you so often deplore, I'm actually not surprised.

by HogWash on Dec 14, 2011 3:20 pm • linkreport

Speaking for me (and me alone) it is this lack of openmindeness and diversity in thought from some of the GGW commenters (not all of the commenters) that keeps those of us from a different racial, economic, and geographic perspective from participating as often in the GGW dialogue.

Wow. Who's making the condescending asumptions?

by SESunknown on Dec 14, 2011 3:21 pm • linkreport

Wow. Who's making the condescending asumptions?

It is in no way at all conscending to point out that GGW does NOT have a diverse community, or at least they don't like to post here. And it's also not a stretch to assume what the reasons behind it are.

If you think GGW is more diverse than what AD just said, would you please let the rest of us know in what respect? Not that I keep count, but I know of only one black person who is a regular contributor here, Dan Reed, and he lives in MoCounty.

Do you have other examples of GGW diversity?

Please note: this is simply stating facts...not an attack on GGW.

by HogWash on Dec 14, 2011 3:32 pm • linkreport

HogWash@3:20,

we haven't been allowed to offer a proposal because they've refused to meet.

A proposal could certainly be offered without an agreement to meet. Not from you or the Advoc8te, true, or from any other blog commentator. But the Ward 8 politicians could certainly do so.

The problem is that legally this is just like a married couple who decided to move next door. It's a permitted use under the current zoning. Calvary doesn't need your or anyone else's permission or approval. If nothing happens, they will build it and move people in. Asking for a meeting is irrelevant.

I agree that Anacostia has more than its share of social services. I agree that this ought not to be a permitted use. But it is. Ward 8 politicians could have moved to amend the zoning to bar more social service uses before this came up, but they didn't. That's not Calvary's fault. They've found a location where they can afford to buy, build and legally occupy. They're going to go and do that unless someone makes them a more attractive offer.

It does no-one any good to say that they have to meet with you before you can make an offer. That's shape-of-the-table stuff.

by jim on Dec 14, 2011 3:49 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash

1. What attitude? The "well, we won't tell you what our alternative is until you meet with us" attitude. You guys want all of us to send emails and tweets in support of your cause, but you won't tell us what your solution is. Do you have some super secret plan that can only be aired in their presence? Or is your only plan to yell at them? You want to debate whats more "friendly" when all you've done since "Fully Loaded" informed the community who bought the building was go on the offensive. They have no cause or reason to meet with a group of people who are only going to yell at them and offer them zero alternatives.

Let me be clear. They "don't have to meet" with anyone. They bought a building and intend to use it within the bounds of the zoning it is in. If that bothers you, then you should seek out the solution to the base problem (zoning).

2. "million-dollar income you derive from the city you so often deplore". Really? The city pays me a million dollar income? News to me. Does that exceed the citys cap? Don't tell Cheh. And I don't deplore the city. I deplore people who suck it dry and have no intention of stopping.

3. In the end, what is your perfect solution to the situation? That they sell a building they just bought and have already invested money into and go elsewhere taking a financial loss along the way? Why would they ever do that?

by freely on Dec 14, 2011 4:18 pm • linkreport

Is this a battered women's shelter? Is it possible the group is ignoring the community because they are trying to maintain the security for the women who will be staying there?

by Ray B on Dec 14, 2011 4:38 pm • linkreport

I once lived in an area where a developer who was doing an as of right development held a community meeting, to be neighborly and show it was better than people expected. When people said they wanted it to be less dense they simply pointed out it was as of right.

This shelter is presumably going to have deal with the community over the years (undoubtedly including issues where they will need things that are NOT as of right). It seems like a good way to get things going, given the friction, would be to meet. Of course some folks are going to come to the meeting and just say "go away". You deal with that. But you get the high ground by showing your willingness to meet.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 14, 2011 4:59 pm • linkreport

@Ray B

The organization of Cavalry has been asked to meet with the community, not the women who will stay there.

by From 20001 to 20032 on Dec 14, 2011 5:02 pm • linkreport

Diversity is for the birds. Some of the contributors bring it, while others don't. Just because someone is of a certain ethnicity or faith doesnt mean they are the solitary voices of that group. What "is" this writer? Does it matter?

There are no restrictions to participate.... GGW is the 99%, right people?

Evrybody chill. Will have to see what happens here but its not a good indicator of things to come.

by Multiculturalism Is Bunk on Dec 14, 2011 5:11 pm • linkreport

I think you should be careful about using terms like "the community" without being able to provide concrete evidence that a large portion of the actual community is opposed to this development. Perhaps the noise that has been raised over this issue is the result of a concerted effort from a very small but vocal minority of community residents. The truth is that CWS has a lot of support in DC for its track record as a successful social service provider.

Perhaps CWS has a responsibility to meet with members of the community at the behest of ANC leadership, but I think we should stop short of making the assumption that failing to respond to requests for a meeting with community members is evidence of some kind of ill intention or even conspiracy (as Congress Heights On The Rise has claimed) against the community as a whole.

by Scoot on Dec 14, 2011 6:22 pm • linkreport

@Jim, I'm not sure if you're the same Jim who asked whether anyone was opposed to the shelter offering an alternative. But if so, AD responded to your question imploring your help in putting more "muscle" behind their efforts to invite the shelter for a lil ol sit down.

Frankly, this is the second installment of this issue. The first one asked a question about whether the shelter should be in the middle of the Anacostia's main business district. Then, we found out that the CM (Barry) had not heard of the move until Kwame Brown's press release. I don't know if it's true or not. But if so, it makes it hard to get involved in a process you don't know about. And I happen to diisagree with you about "who" should be leading this effort. In every other ward across the river, the residents are proactive irrespective of their CM. That's exactly what happened here. The residents said, "WTF, we already have 8 or so similar facilities in an area we are trying to revive, who knew what when." What we found out (at least hasn't been disputed) is that no one (CM, community leaders) did.

Unless I've been on the wrong site, the GGW community has always promoted and encouraged civic activism. So I must admit that I find it strange that you believe this is a matter better handled by Marion Barry..or any CM for that matter.

For me, there is no greater demonstration of that than when the community arose like the phoenix in an e-mail campaign blasting Kwame Brown for reassigning Tommy Wells to another committee. Something, I might add, he was legally allowed to do under the letter of the law. You know, that law thing that has some of you shrugging.

by HogWash on Dec 14, 2011 6:49 pm • linkreport

@freely, if you notice in these two installments, http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/11516/homeless-shelter-with-no-retail-will-hinder-anacostia/, no one has seriously proposed offering an alternative.

The main concerns were two things: 1)whether it should be in the business district. 2)why no one knew

The idea of an "alternative" was never really discussed until today and that happened to be in response to the question jim posed up thread. So your screed about alternatives and secret plans is rather irrelevant to this discussion. Did you even read the article or simply read AD's post and decide to go postal?

The "million-dollar" comment was a jab your income level. I don't know you and don't know how much money you make, but based on your posts, it's a lot. A lot more than those of us on here. So it was a, "well of course you in the diamond tower would think that" statement.

@Scoot do you really want to get into a discussion about where activism starts? When has the majority of any community (race, class, gender, neighborhood etc) been the catalyst for change or issues they feel need addressed.

I really think some of you need to reread the reasons AD gave for why she believes there is a lack of diversity on this site.

1)We don't needneed" to speak with any group or business looking to establish roots in our community, especially if the law allows it.

2)We need to provide concrete evidence that we are speaking for the community at-large.

Now look at those two statements and ask yourself whether those two thoughts are in contradiction to the advocacy practiced here.

Also, no one said it was conspiracy. Unless there are disputes coming, it is a fact that they didn't speak with the residents, nor its ANC, nor its CM, nor any other community leader.

Oh well, it's Anacostiathe law

by HogWash on Dec 14, 2011 7:19 pm • linkreport

Thank you Hogwash. You said it much better than I could have (and frankly did not have the energy to say again).

To answer the question about what the "community" wants I think I can pretty much say the "community" doesn't want a homeless shelter on mainstreet, two doors down from the gateway. Short of taking a census (and I didn't know that was required to express a concern). This has been the topic of discussion online, in the streets, in the community meetings, in line at Fireside, in front of the training center, on the blogs, via text message, on Twitter, inside of Uniontown during happy hour, at the local ANC meeting, in front of the methadone clinic and on fine blogs like this one. Anacostia is saying "no" to a shelter on it's main street and it is saying "hell no" to an organization which is refusing to meet with them to discuss something as basic as the hours it would be in operation. The tiny bit of information we have has come from stalking the CWS website, searching the DCRA database, and peering into the windows -- which by the way have now been covered.

I like zoos but I don't necessarily want one in my liviing room (especailly when there are three in my bedroom), there is a place for everything. (And the accusations of comparing homeless women to animals will begin in 5...4...3...)

Forget for a minute that as residents, business owners, and community stakeholders (and advocates) we have the right to at ask for a dialogue (which is something we do for everything anyway).

Why would CWS want to bring women into a situation where there is this much friction and unease? Something that could have been avoided (and perhaps can be rectified) by just showing a paucity of consideration? We know what happens on these streets, we know the dangers that lurk on the block looking for an easy mark, and we know how hard it is to get police (and a taxi). Why would you want to bring a vulnerable person into that? FYI - I will have to check on the location but we already have two "shelters' in the neighborhood, not to mention the group homes and the methadone clinic (which stands out like a sore thumb).

At the end of the day, Kris Thompson, Executive Director of CWS and the rest of the well meaning staff is going to go home to their comfortable homes in their nice neighborhoods (without a methadone clinic on the corner I bet) and they will be okay. The ladies who will be left in Anacostia are going to be faced with the challenges of dealing with some real temptations already on the block along with a community that is resentful because they were ignored by CWS. Even worse this encourages other organizations to behalf this way when it comes to poorer, less politically connected communities such as ours.

Just because something is legal to do (and the jury is still out on that) doesn't mean it is the right thing to do. Truth be told CWS is really shorting themselves here because there is some real talent and some really dedicated folks in Anacostia and Ward 8 who could have been their biggest allies and advocates, but by discounting all of us, they have sent a message that we have no value and that we just can't tolerate.

I don't care how nice CWS has been in the past or how many people have volunteered for them, this situation is different. They are not showing our community the warm and fuzzy side that you have fell in love with. Prior good acts does not excuse present bad acts and this one is not only rude, it's short-sighted.

If CWS doesn't care enough about us to at least introduce themselves why would they give to hoots to correct problems if they should arise? Where would we go then? Why would they listen?

Again, I say this knowing it will fall on some deaf ears because for some this is not about the people of Anacostia, it is about the perception of the people of Anacostia. And to accept that we are just as deserving (and just as committed) to cherishing out community might just be too shocking for some to comprehend.

We are making things happen East of the River, with or without you. :)

by The Advoc8te on Dec 14, 2011 7:24 pm • linkreport

And for the record I am going to continue to go HAM about this until CWS comes to the table. This will not go quietly into the night.

And If I recall correctly there was a post on here a few weeks ago criticizing Anacostia (and me) for complaining about those hand-me-junk parking meters that were installed (with no notice) in Anacostia. There were plenty of comments about that and how "we" (Anacostia/Ward 8) should just accept it and stop whining.

Less than 24 hours later those parking meters were G-O-N-E and now we have promises from DDOT and the city for future dialogue, better outreach and the multi-space meters that have popped up in other parts of the city.

The neighborhood of Anacostia and East of the River in general is going hard and if you don't know, you better ask somebody. :)

by The Advoc8te on Dec 14, 2011 7:36 pm • linkreport

incorrect usage of the term "mendicant". Not wrong exactly, just not the most appropriate term for what you went on to describe. Mendicants are most often ascetics, relying on charity for survival as opposed to people trying to survive in abject poverty.

by canopy crusader on Dec 14, 2011 8:03 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash - jim asked if CWS had an alternative, (1:19).

Advoc8e replied (1:29): @Jim
Persuade Calvary to finally (after 6 months of asking) meet with the community and then you can find out what our alternative is.

That's where the discussion of what the "communities' alternative is" came from. Advoc8e said "our alternative"; made it sound like there is a proposal for one, or a suggestion for another actual location at the very least.

by Tina on Dec 14, 2011 9:29 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash @Advoc8e- 2)We need to provide concrete evidence that we are speaking for the community at-large.

This is a legitimate concern for any community when there is a group claiming to represent the greater community.

For instance two years ago the Cleveland Park Neighborhood Assn.(CPNA) said it represented the community in opposing the Giant grocery development. When neighbors in CP disagreed with the CPNA position the conflict eventually unearthed practices by the CPNA that were discriminatory and secretive. Since then the CPNA has been "cleaned up" and more fully represents CP or has the ability to.

I'm not at all suggesting that is the case with C.H.O.T.R. I'm just saying that to ask, "does this position (on whatever) truly reflect the majority of the community that the group/blog/voice says it represents?" is a legitimate question and should be welcomed as an opportunity to show how 'you' (plural 'you', whoever 'you' are in any sitch) do in fact represent the majority opinion about a certain development project in 'your' neighborhood.

I'm pretty sure everyone can relate to wanting to have some control about what happens in ones own neighborhood be it a grocery store with mixed development, parking meters or a non-profit shelter "two doors from the gateway".

by Tina on Dec 14, 2011 10:17 pm • linkreport

The unfortunate truth is that many businesses will not locate in predominately African-American areas because of the associated poverty and crime. Whereas governments can locate agencies in these areas for whatever reason, private sector groups must be attracted. In other words, communities can complain all they want but businesses will not come in without a safe and supportive environment. For goodness sake, what's with all the litter?

by truth on Dec 15, 2011 8:28 am • linkreport

@Tina, no! Jim asked "Is anyone opposed to the shelter offering an alternative? What would the "conversation" requested by Mr. Wilson consist of?

I read that as just what it is. He wondered whether we would be willing to listen to an "alternative" if CWS offered one. I didn't take AD's response as her "offering" up an alternative. I took it as, "well if you can help us in getting them to sit down with the community, we can air out our grievances." Obviously, that help isn't coming from this community, despite how she and others like Veronica have supported "your" (if you will) transit efforts EOTR. So yeah thanks.

And I must say, I spit out my chai tea after reading your "Giant" analogy. Let's be clear, this isn't a Giant, it's a women's shelter and even if it were, the community still should have some sort of conversation with anybody looking to conduct business there. But using that example, you don't think "any" community would have something to say about "another" Giant, Safeway, Whole Foods, Wegman's, Trader Joes and a Harris Teeter all w/in a a few blocks of each other?

Also, why are you comparing the CPNA disagreement to this one? In this case, the Ward rep on down to the blogosphere, are all in agreement - CWS failed to do due diligence when it decided to locate there. There is no neighborhood disagreement about that.

And I'll say, the question about "who" she represents is as irrelevant as it was y'day. CHOTR "position" is that of one of the leading newer voices EOTR. If not, I doubt that we would see links to her site here at GGW. IMO, that means that at least GGW seems to think that she represents enough of a constituency to be oft-mentioned. Now she has to go through a poll tax?

by HogWash on Dec 15, 2011 10:31 am • linkreport

@HogWash

CWS failed to do due diligence when it decided to locate there.

How so? They've selected a site where the operation they desire is allowed by right. Sounds like they did their due diligence just fine.

Now, if you want to criticize them for poor relations with neighbors, that's a different story. But those relations are not required by law.

by Alex B. on Dec 15, 2011 11:16 am • linkreport

Alex, thanks but I'm speaking as someone who lives in the community and cosigns the discussions here and offline among the many people who agree with me.

We already know what's "legal" and as I mentioned y'day, "legality" has never, ever, ever, stopped the GGW community from advocating for issues we think are in our community's best interest. That is, until yesterday.

But I will keep your thoughts (and those of others as well) in mind the next time we have a discussion and you all object to something that a business is "legally" allowed to do, especially if there is little to no community involvement in it. I do hope to see you and others make the "it's the law" rationale when that happens...as it will.

Believe it or not, this small dialogue has definately been an eye-opener for me as I hardly raise a serious brow over much of anything.

Again, I say this knowing it will fall on some deaf ears because for some this is not about the people of Anacostia, it is about the perception of the people of Anacostia. And to accept that we are just as deserving (and just as committed) to cherishing out community might just be too shocking for some to comprehend.

by HogWash on Dec 15, 2011 11:35 am • linkreport

Now, if you want to criticize them for poor relations with neighbors, that's a different story. But those relations are not required by law.

I forgot to add. Have you been following the discussion? Poor relations IS what the discussion has been about. I feel pretty comfortable saying that if a similar shelter was planned for Tommy Wells' ward and he nor any other community leader knew about it, somehow, this would be a problem.

But...*please see Anacostia people/perception comment above*

by HogWash on Dec 15, 2011 11:40 am • linkreport

@HogWash

I never said the legality of the situation should stop anyone from commenting.

But I will keep your thoughts (and those of others as well) in mind the next time we have a discussion and you all object to something that a business is "legally" allowed to do, especially if there is little to no community involvement in it. I do hope to see you and others make the "it's the law" rationale when that happens...as it will.

Please do. I think you'll find that I'm fairly consistent in my positions on these types of issues.

Point being, there's a difference between what's required for community involvement and what's a good idea. Likewise, there's a difference in what 'community involvement' means.

I forgot to add. Have you been following the discussion? Poor relations IS what the discussion has been about. I feel pretty comfortable saying that if a similar shelter was planned for Tommy Wells' ward and he nor any other community leader knew about it, somehow, this would be a problem.

I live in Ward 6. In fact, I live near another social services destination - Reservation 13 - and plenty of people in my neighborhood get just as agitated there. You're right about that.

My comment is merely making a distinction in terminology, noting what's required and what's allowed. I'm not sure how that's been twisted into an antagonistic comment, but it seems like it has. That kind of antagonism isn't helping you gain any support. The 'poor relations' here doesn't seem to only be a matter of CWS's outreach, but rather poor relations on both sides of the table.

Just my two cents.

by Alex B. on Dec 15, 2011 11:50 am • linkreport

I get that you live in Ward 6 near "a" social services destination. But do you live near 6 or 7 of them?

I looked back at the two posts on this and realized that there hasn't been any confusion on what's "required" vs. what's "allowed." So forgive me for thinking that it is a bit atagonistic for you and others to keep repeating "the law" as if we don't understand and can't comprehend the "law." It needs no explantion, no one has raised that distinction as an issue, and as long as I've been posting here, I've never witnessed similar instances where we argued the "law." That's why I made the statement. Not because of hypocrisy on your part but those who've commented (and not but agreed) so far.

As I mentioned, I don't expect any "support" from this community. I'm only acting in kind (and in some cases repeating verbatim) with the type of advocacy THIS community has always supported. Now that we are faced with a situation where our concerns are in the minority, some of you are now attaching "stipulations" and questioning whether we deserve support.

I have NEVER witnessed the sugar and spice type of advocacy suggested here because the bigger the story has been the louder many of you (of that small minority) have become.

I say this knowing it will fall on some deaf ears because for some this is not about the people of Anacostia, it is about the perception of the people of Anacostia. And to accept that we are just as deserving (and just as committed) to cherishing our community might just be too shocking for some to comprehend.

by HogWash on Dec 15, 2011 12:18 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash-if my comment came off as disrespectful or hostile I apologize. I didn't have those feelings and certainly didn't mean that intention. Your reaction seems like you took offense. I was just trying to clarify communication for myself and others.

Re: the thing about the "alternative" site for CWS.

Oh, ok. Its just a different interpretation of the communication. I see how the different interpretations occurred and they seem understandable to me. No "dissing" intented by offering how I interpreted the interchange and how I tho't others intepreted it too.

Giant and the CPNA: I did not make an analagy to the CWS project and Giant project or compare the projects.

I gave an example of a neighborhood organization that was respected, well regarded and thought to represent the neighborhood, and then it turned out it didn't. It's a real life example of why its legitimate to ask any org/group/blog/most-heard-voice if it really represents the community it claims to represent.

I only mentioned the specific project to put into context the situation in which the CPNA was found out to not represent CP like it said it did. I could have left that out. It doesn't matter what the project was/is. Its legitiamte to ask if the group-with-the-most-heard-voice represents the community like it claims. Any honest group will welcome that question and understand the legitimacy of why its been asked.

by Tina on Dec 15, 2011 12:32 pm • linkreport

Here's an idea: let the domestic abuse victims live with the Executive Directors of Calvary and Cafritz while they transition into free govt housing that is paid for by the tax paying citizens requesting a simple meeting with representatives of Cavalry.

Double shame on Cafritz and Calvary.

You claim to help the community but you won't engage the community. Even if there's no law that says you have to this is DC, this is southeast. There's a certain way the game should be played and this is not the way.

by Birney Elem Class of 1964 on Dec 15, 2011 1:21 pm • linkreport

@HogWash

I really appreciate you standing up and saying what I have been feeling. I too am...disappointed (but not totally) by the some of the comments. Speaking for me I am concerned by what is either a lack of understanding or a lack of wanting to understand by some of the comments. Again, not everyone has to agree but I do think there is a a different standard here -- I laughed out loud at the "poll tax" comment not just because it was funny but because I was thinking that myself.

I'm not going to take the time (again, and in painstaking detail) explain why this is not a good idea, or why the community is so united against this, or why it is such a bad idea for CWS to continue to shutout any inquiries (including those from Lydia DePillis of WCP) because there is no point. "This" whatever that may be really isn't our audience. I'm not saying that to be rude, or mean, or hateful I am just stating the facts. If you don't live in Anacostia you really don't understand how tight this community is. It's like a village but only smaller. You know everyone by face if not name.

Anyhoo, I digress. I could say more but there is no point. Right now someone is picking apart my punctuation so there is no way they are going to accept (or understand) "our" (because we are one tight community) message.

I could sit here all day and jump through hoops, and present "our" case in mind-numbing detail but what is the point? Really, what is the point?

If you sincerely want to know the thoughts and reasons behind "our" communities concerns then visit my blog, www.congressheightsontherise.com (also nominated as "Favorite DC-Area Blogger" LOL).

You can find my related posts (and reader comments) here:
http://www.congressheightsontherise.com/search?q=homeless+shelter&max-results=20

You can also check out the community's thoughts on Facebook here:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/161579963922562/

and here:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Business-not-Beds-in-Anacostia-No-Thanks-to-Homeless-Shelter-on-GH-Road/262444577113823?ref=ts&sk=wall

And if you are feeling VERY adventurous, put your money where your mouse is and come on down to Anacostia and walk the neighborhood (at night event!), talk to some residents and business owners and find out directly from the source why this may not be the best idea for Anacostia as well as the women of the shelter.

Just a thought because I am not going to waste anymore of my time trying to explain or justify "our" concerns. It is clear this is not the place for that.

Still love ya though! :)

by The Advoc8te on Dec 15, 2011 1:27 pm • linkreport

@Advoc8t-I think everyone understands what your concerns are. I only see two points of difference in these comments and niether challenges why or what your concerns are.

The first difference is/was in the miscommunication about who had/if there was a proposal for an alternative site plan.

The second was/is the discussion of what the strategy is/should be to block this project and/or prevent others like it in the future. That discussion had to do with details of zoning and politics, i.e. getting zoning changed.

I think everyone agrees it would be "best practice", if you will, if CWS had/will meet with the community but there was disagreement about whether they should be forced to do so given the certain laws as they stand; and that goes back to the strategy question.

You seem to think you've been misunderstood in the whole cloth, but I don't see that.

by Tina on Dec 15, 2011 1:44 pm • linkreport

If this building was in the "heart of the business district" then why weren't there any active businesses in it? Why was it so easy for Calvary to buy?

Calvary is moving to where those they serve come from to make it easier for the women they serve to get services and get back on their feet.

Further, Calvary is moving because the neighborhood they are in now is gentrifying. kitty Corner form the shelter's current location is a brand new development with a safeway, bus boys and poets, a Taylor gourmet sandwich shop and 2 high end Asian themed restaurants, topped with high rent condos. So obviously the shelter was not a detriment to the economic stability of that neighborhood, if anything they were a stabilizing force for years until the rents got too high and their clientele was too distantly located for their mission to be effective.

If you folks in Ward 8 want real economic growth start by getting rid of that pos council member. Get a rela leader and maybe Ward 8 woudl do better.

by John on Dec 15, 2011 3:14 pm • linkreport

@Tina, thanks for the clarification. I don't think your post came off as necessarily hostile. What it did was get caught up in a sequence of posts where we were basically being told that we didn't understand the law and that business don't have to consult with a community they're interested in moving to. That also followed discussions asking (for the first time here at GGW) AD to "quantify" her level of support.

And while I also understand your analogies, the biggest distinction is still the "fact" that no community leader has been consulted. Irrepsective of who represents whom, that fact has not changed. That does not change the fact that the community was not consulted.

@AD, I've been posting to this site a little over a year now. I can assure you, it's not that they "can't" understand, it is that they don't want to understand and I can comfortably say that I didn't expect them to. I think you fairly summed it up when you wrote the "anacostia people vs. perception" post. I'm just the only person crazy enough to invest the time in hitting my head up against a brick wall. :)

@Tina, there should not have been disagreement over whether they should be "forced" to do anything because no one is forcing them. For the very last time, they haven't had a discussion with ANYONE in the community, including the ward CM. I personally don't think AD is being misunderstood. I gather that people aren't interesting in understanding.

@John, where did you read that this shelter was going to located in a thriving business district? Where did you even hear that? If you bothered to read up on this, the initial question was whether they should be located in an area's main business district that's currently on the precipice of a serious revitalization. Ironically, you suggest that Calvary is moving from an area AFTER it gentrified and conclude that them being there didn't stifle economic development but acted as a stabalizing force.

Pretty akward thinking there bud and I have officially heard it all. A social services organization serving as an economic anchor in a community? Oh my my my.

by HogWash on Dec 15, 2011 4:36 pm • linkreport

I'm extremely dismayed by the nimby comments on this page. There is already an alarming lack of women's shelters in DC (only 2) - there is a pressing need for this shelter. The CWS shelter will be supportive housing - not the kind of place that kicks its residents out during the day, so the loitering you're talking about is a red herring.

The shelter is not being "dumped" on Anacostia, it's part of a larger plan by the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) to solve chronic homelessness in the District. And the race/classisct card is a red herring.

This is only 1 of several ongoing projects to open new supportive housing in the District. In the Northwest (Columbia Heights) WIN supporters are converting an old church into 22 new units of supportive housing. This is a mixed neighborhood - wealthy folks and struggling people living side by side. If Columbia Heights can add a new shelter, why can't Anacostia?

Btw, it's pretty callous to recommend "moving all shelters" to VA and MD. The women who will seek shelter at the CWS shelter are human beings seeking respite. They are worthy of a safe place to lay their head.

The comments on here are so bitter & spiteful, I don't blame CWS for not meeting with the neighborhood. They have the legal rights to do whatever they wish with the building under DC's zoning rules - they have no obligation to meet with the ANC (who, let's face it, have a terrible reputation of blocking meaningful changes that could improve the quality of life for large swaths of the community they claim to represent).

This shelter isn't going to stop any real growth in Anacostia. Stop whining about CWS - or at least try and do it with a modicum of compassion for your fellow man (or woman!).

by MG on Dec 15, 2011 4:46 pm • linkreport

I'm still waiting for shelter-haters to respond to Annie's post. The fact that you can't shows that much of the hyberbole and angst is based more in bias and prejudice than fact.

The Post:

"Calvery is a well respected women's shelter. I don't think that their presence on Good Hope Road is a direct correlation to preventing economic development of the area. N Street Village is right in the the heart of the bustling Logan Circle neighborhood, and its presence and the women who recover there certainly didn't stifle the economic redevelopment of that area. Martha's Table hasn't impacted the redevelopment further up 14th street, and they now own several storefronts, which they use for social services. Also, see Miriam's Kitchen, which no one can argue has diminished the development of the Foggy Bottom area.
by Annie"

I'd also add the new supportive housing units on Columbia & 16th.

by MG on Dec 15, 2011 4:54 pm • linkreport

@hogwash - I wrote I think everyone agrees it would be "best practice" for CWS to meet with the community

How does that contradict this?;
Tina, there should not have been disagreement over whether they should be "forced" to do anything because no one is forcing them. For the very last time, they haven't had a discussion with ANYONE in the community

Yes, it would be best practice if they did meet with the community.

But they are not required to do so, nor do they need to do so in order to get support for a zoning exemption. Usually thats why project leaders meet with communities. Would it be better if they met w/ the community even though they aren't required? Yes.

Also, you are very sensitive to the fact that CHOTR was questioned as to how much it represents the communties' view and seem to think that no other org/blog has been questioned in the same way by GGW. But that is not the case. The CPNA was was asked the same thing on this blog. In that case the group being questioned (the former CPNA) couldn't stand up to the scrutiny. The outcome is a better CPNA and better representation of the community through CPNA.

Again, any honest org would welcome this question and understand why its been asked.

Anacostia and/or CHOTR has not been singled out. The (former)CPNA was not treated with kid gloves.

I only bring up the CPNA b/c its the example I am most familiar with. This question of representation came up recently in the Ward 5 redistricting article here on GGW. I'm sure there are other examples.

by Tina on Dec 15, 2011 5:13 pm • linkreport

@MG -from what I understand, CHOTR is saying that this planned residence, CWS, is different from similar places in other neighborhoods b/c there is already a disproportionate number of shelters/ transitional housing type facilities in the immediate vicinity, and that the density of these types of residences will interfere with economic development in Anancostia.

by Tina on Dec 15, 2011 5:28 pm • linkreport

As an unbiased person who lives nowhere the proposed location I still think this is kind of a silly idea. I mean wouldn't it be better to stick something like this out in the mountains of West Virginia where it's a lot easier to stay clean and stay out of trouble than 2 blocks away from the temptation of street dealers and god knows what other trouble in that neighborhood (uhh... no offense to you Ward 8 people). Seriously though, what's the advantage to the people you are trying to help of putting it in this area?

by Doug on Dec 15, 2011 6:46 pm • linkreport

There was a response to Annie's post. In summary, the environment that the CWS shelter will be in, is markedly different from the shelters cited.

Once the women are separated from CWS' facility, it seems that they could face challenges and tests of their personal wills, etc. Shelters should be located in healing environments. It seems that CWS should at least meet with the community to begin partnerships to ensure that the women have such an environ.

As I understand it (from other sources) the community actually has several alternatives. Certainly, I would prefer to reserve my alternative(s) until having a dialogue with CWS.

It's also in poor taste to make accusations that the community will "just say no" and be hostile.

Also, I found the comment odd about Anacostia's uniquely convenient access to public transportation. Most areas of the City are extremely accessible, especially some other sections that not only have metrorail, but multiple bus lines that cross the various sections of the City.

Finally, it's kinda uninformed to state that the residents in Anacostia (which is a very tiny portion of ward 8 if you look at a map -- bloggers truly want to say east of the river and/or ward 8)are the ones primarily using the social services.

by think on Dec 15, 2011 11:55 pm • linkreport

Btw, it's pretty callous to recommend "moving all shelters" to VA and MD.

Has anyone argued this? Are we in danger of DC not having *any* shelters, or is this hyperbole?

I think we, as a region, have an obligation to take care of the less fortunate. I'm not against this site for the shelter--but that's easy for me, since it's not my neighborhood. And we have a moral obligation. Vulnerable women and children with no homes need shelter--especially at this time of the year. But for every ounce of finger-wagging DC gets for not being compassionate enough, MD and VA deserve a five-gallon bucket given that they're wealthier and do less.

And please don't tell me--after a century of explicit public policy aimed at concentrating poverty in DC proper--that "it's a DC problem, so DC is responsible for the solution". Because I'm sure all the wealthy folks in upper NW would love to hear that poverty is a Ward 8 problem, so Ward 8 is responsible for the solution.

by oboe on Dec 16, 2011 9:20 am • linkreport

@oboe

Fairfax has a domestic violence shelter http://www.shelterhouse.org/

I guess that mainly takes care of folks who are residents of Fairfax. I can't see locating a shelter for DC in women in fairfax would be a good idea. The interjurisdictional fairness question is really one of financing, not location.

Personally Id be fine if we had a state of greater DC that included NoVa, MoCo, PG etc (dont expect y'all to control its politics though). Then NoVa would help deal with poverty in ward 8, instead of dealing with povery in inner city Richmond, with road needs in Hampton Roads, and with higher education needs in Southwest virginia. Some folks in Ward 3, OTOH, wanted to join maryland at one time.

But I dont think either of those changes is terribly likely. the law is what it is - and most of my fellow NoVans either have no idea what public policies you mean or dont feel particularly responsible for them (many of my affluent neighbors were born in India or China - othersd simply dont take the same view of poverty - they would have no problem if DC stopped taking care of poverty, since they dont see it as something needing to be taken care of - for all that you imply that NoVa is filled with hypocritical finger wagging liberals, I find them scarce on the ground here - we just barely turned aside a tea party congressional candidate in 2010)

If the liberals of fairfax, attacked by the GOP for giving developers density bonuses in exchange for affordable units, for not lowering taxes, etc, etc were to try to take on financing poverty in the District, when under no legal obligation to - the result would NOT be $$ for the district -it would be tea party rule in FFX county.

When YOU'VE pounded the pavement for Fairfax Dems, when you have gotten into arguments with tea parties in the malls and shopping centers of FFX, then you can finger wag suburban liberals on the nature of suburban politics.

by AWalkerInTheCIty on Dec 16, 2011 9:49 am • linkreport

"The comments on here are so bitter & spiteful, I don't blame CWS for not meeting with the neighborhood. "

that seems like reinforcing a spiral of hate. I would think an interfaith network could see the advantage to "turning the other cheek" and trying to lower the temperature.

Anacostia is much weaker economically and socially then Columbia Heights is. And it is a greater concentration of social service facilities in general (if no others quite like this). I see a request for outreach as quite reasonable - I would think progressive folks would be interested in it to smooth operations, and out of principle, even if its not needed for zoning purposes.

Again, Ive seen for profit developers with a greater sense of the need for community buy in than this.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 16, 2011 9:54 am • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity,

But I dont think either of those changes is terribly likely. the law is what it is...

Quite true, and obviously we're not going to see some sort of voluntary engagement by folks in the suburbs. Nor are we likely to see a change in national politics so long as poverty is concentrated in the city.

But since there's no way to achieve any kind of parity through explicit regional policies, we in DC need to stop our current practice of paying to keep our own poverty rate artificially high. If we spend less money, there will be a natural outflow of poverty into the suburbs.

Do I think--as @MG put it up-thread--that "we should move all shelters to MD & VA"? Obviously not. But there's no reason the poverty level in DC should be significantly higher than that of the immediately surrounding MD and VA suburbs. And we in DC have the ability to make that happen unilaterally.

by oboe on Dec 16, 2011 10:45 am • linkreport

"If we spend less money, there will be a natural outflow of poverty into the suburbs."

maybe. or maybe poor people will just sink into deeper poverty and create social problems that harm all. You are going on an implicit model in which the poor (including those who have not already moved to PG, etc) are mobile, and are mobile in response to local social service spending. I believe that was associated with Forrester back in the 1960s. My general sense is that his view is not widely held anymore.

But Im not a district resident (yet) so its not my part to argue for or against any particular district policy on such matters. I can assure you, many of my co-citizens in FFX would be in full sympathy with such an approach (even if I would not be). And the impact on FFX would be small, as most of those who would move, if move they did, would go to PG county.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 16, 2011 11:30 am • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity:

Not sure how it plays out nationally, but it's pretty clear that in the DC metro area, poor folks are pretty mobile, and respond to local social service spending. Otherwise moving this particular shelter wouldn't be under discussion. It would stay in NW, because that's where the under-served population would be. Getting from the 14th Street Corridor to Anacostia is arguably more difficult than getting from 14th Street to Silver Spring.

If tomorrow, some evil bastard were elected, and he imposed the kind of anti-poor policies that you see in most wealthy, conservative suburbs, we'd see a dramatic reduction in the number of homeless folks in the city. Because DC would then be marginally less attractive than, say, Rosslyn, Crystal City, or Silver Spring.

That won't happen (thank God) but policies have consequences.

by oboe on Dec 16, 2011 12:17 pm • linkreport

Anacostia is much weaker economically and socially then Columbia Heights is. And it is a greater concentration of social service facilities in general (if no others quite like this). I see a request for outreach as quite reasonable

Can we face the facts here? The residents of Columbia Heights have a greater motivation and capacity to make life difficult for Calvary than the residents of Anacostia, so Calvary has more of a motivation to "come to the table" in Columbia Heights. Calvary isn't coming to the table because, ultimately, they don't have to, and the residents of Anacostia can't do anything to incent them to.

Ive seen for profit developers with a greater sense of the need for community buy in than this.

That's because the developers realize that the community can tank their plans.

My other guess is that the special interests in Anacostia who specialize in extracting concessions from developers and other actors aren't motivated enough to oppose Calvary, possibly because those special interests and Calvary are generally on the same side.

by JustMe on Dec 16, 2011 12:45 pm • linkreport

@JustMe - The residents of Columbia Heights have a greater motivation and capacity to make life difficult for Calvary than the residents of Anacostia

I think CHOTR has shown this isn't the case.

I Think CHOTR suspected, and you suggest it too, CWS intentionally placed the project in Anacostia b/c of the assumption/perception that you stated. I think thats kind of conspiratory cynical thinking. But clearly CHOTR is right that the assumption/perception exists, e.g. you just stated it.

I think CWS found real estate they could afford near other amenties like public transit that already had zoning that fit their needs so they wouldn't have to go to the community to garner support for a zoning exemption.

I really doubt there was any cynical conspiratory going on.

by Tina on Dec 16, 2011 1:06 pm • linkreport

"Not sure how it plays out nationally, but it's pretty clear that in the DC metro area, poor folks are pretty mobile, and respond to local social service spending. Otherwise moving this particular shelter wouldn't be under discussion."

Isnt this for women fleeing domestic violence? Im sure they will go to a shelter (maybe the agency provides transport) in a distant area. But people in shelters are not what drives total poverty population, most of whom reside in apts, most of the time. I read you as implying that if DC didnt provide so many shelters or other social service programs, the poor in general would move away, not just that those in shelters would follow their shelter.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 16, 2011 1:11 pm • linkreport

"That's because the developers realize that the community can tank their plans"

it was some years ago, on the baltimore waterfront, but Im pretty sure the developer was as of right. They just thought it was smart to have the community, if not on their side, at least less opposed - theres so much that pols can do to get in the way, or to smooth things, why NOT go to the minor trouble of holding a meeting to improve relations?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 16, 2011 1:13 pm • linkreport

"If tomorrow, some evil bastard were elected, and he imposed the kind of anti-poor policies that you see in most wealthy, conservative suburbs,"

what anti-poor policy do you have in mind - please cite one that is in effect in Fairfax county. Bonus points if its ALSO in effect in Arlington, Loudoun, and/or MoCo.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 16, 2011 1:21 pm • linkreport

^..."conspiratorial"...^"conspiracy"..

by Tina on Dec 16, 2011 1:28 pm • linkreport

Gosh, I am all for a women shelter, but the main street? Arent there zoning laws about residental use of property in a business district? I moved into Anacostia 7 years ago, with a lot of hope, and a lot of good things are happening -- but hearing this on New Years Eve, maybe my resolution should be to move back to the other side of the river rather then invest any more money in my house in SE.

by Jen on Dec 31, 2011 11:22 pm • linkreport

Lets me honest...the concern and frustration stems from ward 8&7 residents (like myself), who have been seeing slow but progressive change in this community's fragile revitalization effort, and feeling like its suddenly being derailed by Calvary's presence.

A lot of this progress and development is the result of years and years of deeply engaged advocacy with local govt and private sector developers, just to get the embers of revitalization going. For most of us, we feel Washingtonians from other parts of the city who are in support of this shelter, don't recognize or care about the long term goals of our community, especially when they set-up methdone clinics, soup kitchens, homeless shelters,and the like in the middle of this community's "work-in-progress". And then to have the arrogance to refuse a dialogue with the community, is even more infuriating. What we really want is consideration and input, as well as an explanation. We could have collaborated or at least spoke, an to make this situation less contenious.

These are our homes, our property values, our families and their safety and the only response we've heard is that "we should be so lucky" and "they don't have to run anything past you". It's insulting! Can Calvary promise my now rising property value will continue to rise? can they promise no additional violence or loitering will occur? Can Calvary promise their presence on our Main Street won't derail the revitalization effort?...That's why we're upset! its just not about 50 homeless women and some cross town do-gooders. But its wrong to think, regardless if its legal or not, to come into someone's community and assume "we wouldn't mind" or would be grateful for the additional social services crowding our Main Street.

Its like being in the middle of building a sand castle and suddenly having some other kid start knocking it over and building something else. Calvary is very aware of what they are doing to our revitalization effort. If they are as connected in DC as been stated, than they are definitely familiar with our decades long effort to turn this main street around. Their demeanor just verifies that they don't care. That all the development dollars and years spent this community has worked to bring in to improve our main street, will have been wasted if we have to take on even more of a social burden.

Its true legally Calvary doesn't have to say two words to the community directly affected. However, if they what us to be good neighbors in the future, which I'm sure they will, they might what to have a conversation sooner rather than later. Just because Calvary is a non-profit providing a social service, doesn't mean they can't be insensitive bullies!

by SEnewbie on Feb 22, 2012 2:41 pm • linkreport

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