Housing Complex

Peaceoholics Buildings Yanked, Will Be Used for Homeless Families [UPDATED]

1300 Congress Street, pre-rehab. (Lydia DePillis)

At a Council Committee on Human Services hearing today, DHS Director Clarence Carter announced a resolution, of sorts, in the long-running saga of the Peaceoholics and 1300 Congress Street SE: That 13-unit building, which the Peaceoholics had gotten city money to rehabilitate into an independent living facility for young at-risk men, will instead be used to house homeless families. Another Peaceoholics facility, a 16-unit building at 1271 Meigs Place NE, will meet the same fate. Both were finished and just waiting on their certificates of occupancy before DHS heard that plans had changed.

"We jumped on that," said Carter (who had just been berated for three hours for not having much in the way of contingency planning for homeless families this winter).

If the Peaceoholics lost out, they might have brought in on themselves. At a hearing on their real estate activities in July, Ron Moten and Jauhar Abraham hurled insults at Councilmembers Michael A. Brown and Harry Thomas, saying that racism and politics were at the root of their inquiry ("Man, this ain't right, man. You got to check yourself, brother," Moten huffed. "Put politics in the way of our children?")

Substantively, the problem was that 1300 Congress Street specifically hadn't been voted on by the Council, since it had been substituted for another building after the initial bundle had been approved. But that probably wouldn't have been enough to junk the whole idea of housing at-risk youth if it hadn't been for the Peaceoholics attitude.

In the mean time, it looks like ANC 8E's zoning appeal—to be decided November 2—has just become moot. But the neighbors might not be satisfied. "It still violates Title 11," said appellant Brian Townes of the homeless family housing idea, referring to the regulation that addresses clustering of community based residential facilities.

UPDATE, Friday, 7:00 p.m. – According to the Department of Housing and Economic Development, the switch was made because the Department of Youth and Rehabilitation Services didn't have the money to support the Peaceoholics' program. DHCD said that negotiations are underwy over whether the Peaceoholics, who still own the building, will operate DHS' homeless families program.

  • Southeast Resident

    First Peaceaholics tries to violate zoning and the law and the community calls them out. Now Council wants to do the same thing as Peaceaholics. If a shelter or facility is needed put it in some other Ward. Stop treating Ward 8 like the city's dumping ground!

  • HillChris

    ...and don't go eyeing Ward 6, either. I hear PG county is very nice this time of year.

  • Brian

    Why wasn't the community notified of this hearing? The Council wants to swap out the peaceoholics for the homeless? What hearing was this? The BZA have not yet ruled on the hearing for the Zoning Appeal. This a joke right?

  • Puhlease

    This really is foolishness with a capital "F" it still violates the law! There are already 5 social service facilities including a homeless shelter on that block. You can't put another one there!

    They just need to suck it up and sell it to a private developer who can put market rate housing there.

    BTW - surprise,surprise what happens to the money the Peaceoholics took out in a loan for these properties? Can anyone say "default"?

  • dbrighthaupt

    Great story. Great info in comments. Interesting to see if gov't slides away with it. Will SE leadership allow it?

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

    meigs place is not in SE. it is in trinidad in NE.

  • Lydia DePillis

    You are correct sir. Thanks as always for your vigilance.

  • Brian

    Sandra Seegars will not allow this to happen with the building on Congress Street. I spoke to Mr. Carter myself and he says the fate of this building is up to the community. If that is the case, then the only thing it CAN be is market rate condos or apartments. We'll see if the Council has any more dirty tricks up their sleeves.

  • Really?

    I'm confused as to who owns the building?

    If DHCD loaned Peaceoholics the money to acquire and rehab the properties, would that then make Peaceholics the landlord?
    If they are the landlord, why are D.C. taxpayers funding the purchase and rehab of the property and also funding (thru) DHS the rental of this property.

    So what may be happening is that Peaceholics is still being paid and financially benefitting off of DC Citizens by becoming landlords

    Also, I would like to know the interest and repayment terms of the loan that was provided by DHCD to Peaceholics.

    Lydia DePillis do you have insight on any of these questions?

  • Lydia DePillis

    Really,

    The Peaceoholics bought the buildings with a loan from DHCD. I've requested more details from DHCD about the exact terms of the current arrangement.

    Lydia

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