ANC 6D's Caveats on the Proposed Ward 6 Family Shelter

Resolution Adopted March 14

At a regularly scheduled and properly noticed public meeting on March 14, 2015 with a quorum present, a quorum being four Commissioners, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D voted 7-0-0 to send the following resolution:

Whereas, the Mayor’s Homeward DC Plan intends to replace the family homeless shelter at DC General with sites in all eight wards, and

Whereas, ANC 6D unanimously passed a resolution on December 14, 2015 (attached here) supporting the closure of the shelter at DC General and its replacement with family shelters in all eight wards, but setting a variety of expectations should such a shelter be located in ANC 6D, and

Whereas, the proposed site in Ward 6 was announced as 700 Delaware Avenue SW, located in ANC 6D02, and

Whereas, ANC 6D was not consulted about the location of the proposed shelter, and

Whereas, ANC 6D believes there are other, publicly owned, sites within Ward 6 and ANC 6D that would be better suited for a shelter because they:

  •     do not involve modifying a landmarked property
  •     could be developed at lower expense than the proposed lease with the private owner of 700 Delaware Avenue
  •     would allow the shelter to exist for longer than the 15 years contemplated by the proposed lease
  •     are zoned for more intensive development
  •     allow for more off-street parking
  •     are closer to public transportation routes
  •     provide more space for common and family space in the shelter and more room between the shelter and existing residences

    A few examples of available sites from those delineated in the SW Small Area Plan follow:

  •     1101 Half Street SW (Engine Company No. 07 and repair shop)
  •     1001 Half Street SW (DMV emissions testing station)
  •     95 M St. SW (DMV site; a new DMV and shelter could be constructed with underground parking)

There are also several federally-owned parcels in ANC 6D that were not considered and might be more appropriate for a shelter.

Therefore let it be resolved that

ANC 6D requests a meeting with the Mayor, Councilmember Allen, and District staff responsible for locating Ward 6’s proposed shelter, to discuss alternative sites, and

ANC 6D requests that before Bill 21-620, the “Homeward DC Omnibus Approval of Facilities Plan for Short-Term Housing for Persons Experiencing Homelessness Act of 2016” is voted on by the Committee of the Whole, that the DC Council hold a hearing in Ward 6 (and in other wards, if their Councilmembers and residents wish) to address issues specific to each proposed shelter, and

ANC 6D expects that wherever the Ward 6 shelter is located, that it will go through customary review processes with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Historic Preservation Review Board, Office of Planning, Department of Transportation, Board of Zoning Appeals, Zoning Commission, and any other relevant bodies, meaning that these processes should not be altered, expedited, or abridged, that the ANC be permitted to provide input, and that ANC input be given its usual great weight, and

ANC 6D requests that the Council amend Bill 21-620, the “Homeward DC Omnibus Approval of Facilities Plan for Short-Term Housing for Persons Experiencing Homelessness Act of 2016” in the following ways:

  • Addition of a committee to create the solicitations for shelter operators. Such a committee should include community representatives and legal advocates for the homeless, and should not include any members who would benefit from the selection of a specific shelter operator
  •        Requirement that all shelters include the physical features listed in the ANC’s December 2015 resolution:
  •        Private bedroom and bathroom areas for each family
  •        Indoor and outdoor play space for children
  •        Accessibility for residents with disabilities

Space to provide on-site case management, job training, and other services

  • Explicit rejection of “dormitory-style” housing with restrooms down the hall from bedrooms. Families should not be forced to choose between bringing their whole family with them every time one person needs to shower or use the toilet, and leaving unattended children locked in their bedrooms down the hall. A lack of private bathrooms will increase conflicts among residents, make it more difficult for families to get ready for school and work on time, and contribute to trauma in a population that has already faced a higher than normal level of traumatizing experiences.
  • Requirement that all shelters have adequate laundry and computer rooms, soundproofing between rooms, units that can accommodate families of different sizes while allowing all children to be under parental supervision at all times (families should not simply be assigned two rooms and have to enter a common space to go between them), age-appropriate cribs or beds for each resident, and sufficient space in each family’s unit to store necessary belongings, keep medication at appropriate temperatures, and warm and refrigerate food and beverages. No matter how long shelter residents stay in ANC 6D, they are our constituents, and we expect their housing to be adequate, dignified, and safe.
  • Additional services to help the Ward 6 shelter’s residents and current residents of ANC 6D to function well and be integrated as a community. Should the proposed location of the shelter be somewhere other than 700 Delaware Avenue SW, as is our preference, ANC 6D may offer additional or different suggested improvements.
  •       Randall Community Center: The community center would be the primary "home away from home" for shelter occupants and could allow new and current residents to interact in positive ways. ANC6D voted unanimously in March and September 2015 to request that the District provide $500,000 per year in operating funds for the community center. In addition, ANC 6D has repeatedly requested that DPR finalize and implement regulations allowing community groups who offer programs in DPR centers like Randall to charge on a sliding scale.  This would allow Randall to offer additional programming without charging low-income individuals for them.
  •         Greenleaf Redevelopment: The proposed shelter site is one block away from the Greenleaf Gardens public housing development, which is slated for mixed-income redevelopment along with Greenleaf Seniors, Extension, and Addition. ANC 6D believes that there is no point in moving 50 homeless families into our community unless the District also commits to keeping our public housing residents here as well. Therefore, before or at the same time that a Ward 6 site for a new family shelter is selected, the District and the DC Housing Authority must create a Greenleaf redevelopment plan that lists the specific sites that will be used and the number of public and non-public housing units that will be located on each site. Such a plan must include the same number of public housing units that currently exist within the four Greenleaf properties and must locate all replacement public housing units in ANC 6D. ANC 6D unanimously supported a Build First approach to Greenleaf’s redevelopment in October 2015.
  •         Unity Health Care: This clinic at 850 Delaware Avenue SW, which currently serves neighborhood residents regardless of their insurance status, can also provide for the health care needs of shelter residents. Capital improvements to the District-owned building and land and additional operating funds to expand services and hours at the clinic would assist the entire community.
  •         Amidon-Bowen and Jefferson: These schools are located in ANC 6D and would be schools of right for residents of a shelter located at 700 Delaware Ave. SW. Their student bodies already have high rates of poverty and special educational needs. Additional operating funds in the amount of $150,000 per school, per year, would help provide additional resources, such as attendance counselors, school psychologists, and social workers. Capital funds for Jefferson’s long-promised renovation would make it a safer and more functional place of learning for students both homeless and housed. Finally, both schools need sufficient funding to fully implement the Community Schools model.
  •         Crosswalk at South Capitol Street and I Street: The north side of this intersection connects Randall Community Center and a McDonald’s, but it lacks a crosswalk. This puts people, especially children, in danger, and the intersection will only become more heavily used if 50 families move in two blocks away. ANC 6D voted unanimously in April 2014 and September 2015 in support of DDOT constructing a crosswalk on the north side of this intersection.
  •         Lansburgh Park: This location will be an important recreation site for shelter residents and is already heavily used by the Southwest community. The lack of potable water is unsafe for people who play basketball or otherwise use the park, especially when the weather is warm. ANC 6D voted unanimously in April 2015 to request a water fountain in the park.

Respectfully submitted,

Andrew Litsky

Chair, ANC 6D

This resolution was adoped by ANC 6D by a unanimous vote at the commission's March 14 meeting.