City Desk

Petworth Commenters Mobilize Against “Poor People”

Last year, Central Union Mission attempted to bring its 128-bed homeless shelter to the 3500 block of Georgia Avenue, but was shot down by Ward 1 Council member Jim Graham and a group of residents in a rather shameless case of NIMBYism. "Good news!!! Central Union Mission is not moving to Georgia Avenue in Ward One," Graham wrote on his website after he fought off the shelter.

Now, as the Prince of Petworth has relayed in two recent blog posts, the local ANC 1A will be considering a new proposal on Wednesday night.  The Mission is trying a more moderate tack for the space, which it owns: retail combined with affordable housing.

Seems like a pretty un-contentious proposal. But if PoP’s comments section is any indication, the meeting will be, well, interesting. Some neighborhood residents are rather frank about who they don’t want moving in next door. One commenter writes:

“Can someone explain to me why poor people need to get subsidized ‘affordable’ housing in expensive neighborhoods? There’s a ton of affordable housing in DC as is – it’s called NE and across the river.”

“'Affordable Housing' = artificially concentrated poverty, more crime,” another says. “Build your projects in Georgetown, don’t dump on our neighborhood just because we’re not as rich.”

Another commenter suggested that the proposed development is actually a devious bait-and-switch by the Christian charity, still scheming to slip a homeless shelter into Parkview:

“What they are trying to do is very transparent. They want to get the special exception and build the building and then change the use to a shelter for men. Georgia Avenue will be doomed if this happens.”

ANC 1A chair Cliff Valenti, who fought the shelter plans last year, is supporting the current proposal. At the meeting tomorrow, he plans to assure the concerned blog commenters that their worries about incoming “projects” and “poor people” are unfounded.

“There’s a lot of confusion with people as to what ‘affordable housing’ means,” he told the Washington City Paper over the phone. “Where people get confused is when federal vouchers come in. This proposal says nothing about those vouchers. This is truly housing for people who have jobs, who are working.”

Valenti said he also expects reassurance from the Mission that they won’t transform the building into a homeless shelter after the proposal is approved.

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The 3500 block of Georgia Avenue is the emblem of a changing neighborhood: right now, it’s nothing but an empty lot down the street from the budding gentrification around the Petworth Metro station. What it becomes may determine the face of the Parkview area in the years to come.

Last year, Central Union MissionJim Graham“Good news!!! Central Union Mission is not moving to Georgia Avenue in Ward One,” Graham wrote on his website after the mobilization succeeded. attempted to bring its 128-bed homeless shelter to the site, but was shot down by Ward 1 Councilmember and a group of residents in a rather shameless case of NIMBYism.

Now, as the Prince of Petworth has relayed in two recent blog posts, the local ANC 1A will be considering a new proposal on Wednesday night. The Mission is trying a more moderate tack for the space, which it owns: retail combined with affordable housing.

Seems like a pretty un-contentious proposal. But if PoP’s comments section is any indication, the meeting will be, well, interesting. Some neighborhood residents are rather frank about who they don’t want moving in next door. One commenter writes:

“Can someone explain to me why poor people need to get subsidized ‘affordable’ housing in expensive neighborhoods? There’s a ton of affordable housing in DC as is – it’s called NE and across the river.”

“’Affordable Housing’ = artificially concentrated poverty, more crime,” another says. “Build your projects in Georgetown, don’t dump on our neighborhood just because we’re not as rich.”

Some even suggest that the proposed development is actually a devious bait-and-switch by the Christian charity, still scheming to slip a homeless shelter into Parkview:

“What they are trying to do is very transparent. They want to get the special exception and build the building and then change the use to a shelter for men. Georgia Avenue will be doomed if this happens.”

For what it’s worth, ANC 1A chair Cliff Valenti, who fought the shelter plans last year, is supporting the current proposal. At the meeting tomorrow, he plans to assure the concerned blog-commenters that their worries about incoming “projects” and “poor people” are unfounded.

“There’s a lot of confusion with people as to what ‘affordable housing’ means,” he told the Washington City Paper over the phone. “Where people get confused is when federal vouchers come in. This proposal says nothing about those vouchers. This is truly housing for people who have jobs, who are working.” Valenti also says he expects reassurance from the Mission that they won’t transform the building into a homeless shelter once the proposal is approved.

So, not to fear! There won’t be any welfare bums or smelly homeless people ruining the Petworth Metro station with their loitering.

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  • former staffer

    I'm a federal employee and I could use affordable housing. I can't hack $1300 a month on a GS-11 salary with my law school and undergraduate debt. Thanks. And FWIW Petworth ain't all that in terms of neighborhoods. I'd take Capitol Hill of Petworth anyday.

  • http://imgoph.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    i love the shlub who thinks all of the NE quadrant of the city is a giant public housing project. enjoy your insular little world up there in petworth/park view, classist douche.

  • Q

    I remember when Petworth wasn't so NIMBY. Heck, there wasn't even a Prince back then, just loyal subjects of the commune. Give'em a Metro Station and all of a sudden...

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