Thursday, November 21, 2013

Reader comments that have broken my heart.

I am a fighter and overall an optimistic person but the past six months I have been sorely disappointed (or perhaps the better word is "disillusioned") with hopes for real progress and change in Ward 8. With every new plan of a new group home or low-income housing facility opening east of the river, the deafening silence surrounding significant economic development and employment projects; I have found myself frustrated beyond belief. It seems as though I am not the only one disappointed. I am sensing a growing level of frustration with my readers and neighbors. I thought I would share some reader comments that have particularly concerned or saddened me.

People may not always like what I have to say but I would say this. If I am saying something (and publicly at that) imagine what my neighbors are thinking and saying to each other.


I live I'm Henson ridge and will never be able to sell my house because it will be now surrounded section 8 ers. Worst decision I have ever made in my life buying property in ward 8. It's going to financially make me stuck in one spot for the rest for my life. Who would ever want to buy or rent my place if they are surrounded buy dudes who want to intimidate you as you walk to the mail box or people who steal packages from your front porch ( happened to me this week). I'M DONE. on Hey Anacostia -- you are getting 180 new units "affordable" housing! Aren't you happy?!

So it continues. Are the voices of Anacostia and Ward 8 in general being ignored? What will it seriously take for the city to understand these continuous projects will not “revitalize” the area? on Hey Anacostia -- you are getting 180 new units "affordable" housing! Aren't you happy?!

I live in Anacostia and I feel defeated too. I don't know why we always have to be the dumping ground for the rest of the city. Homes can't get much cheaper than in Ward 8 -- why we need more of them I will never understand. on Hey Anacostia -- you are getting 180 new units "affordable" housing! Aren't you happy?!

I agree. We have to talk a lot more about what we want for our community instead of what we don't want. I'm not asking for fancy stores just the simple basics. Everybody eats right? So why are 70K+ people made to shop at one grocery store? Duh the lines are going to be long and it's not going to be stocked well. I just don't understand the economics of the situation. on Creating more low-income and "affordable" rental housing in Ward 8 is like...

"Sometimes I feel like my biggest mistake was believing the hype (and the press releases) all those years ago that Ward 8 was finally going to get a real shot at revitalization." While over the course of your blogging, and especially of late, you have taken to task the complex and tangled web that has been woven over Ward 8, in many instances you have been a purveyor of your own hope. It is frustrating that the status quo hasn't changed for years. on Sometimes I fantasize about setting my house on fire. This is why.

"Walking away with the place ablaze in the background sounds way more exciting than the depression that sometimes sets in when I think about the state of the ward." Such a POWERFUL yet SAD statement. And how true it is... onSometimes I fantasize about setting my house on fire. This is why.

Walking away with the place ablaze in the background sounds way more exciting than the depression that sometimes sets in when I think about the state of the ward. It's time for all this CHANGE to make its way to Ward 8. onSometimes I fantasize about setting my house on fire. This is why.

If I were to be honest I feel the exact same way. Just when I think it may finally be our turn something like this pops up and my family's hopes are dashed again. The short answer is that we do not have effective representation. Other wards are more successful because their leadership knows their constituents aren't going to allow a group home on every single corner. on Sometimes I fantasize about setting my house on fire. This is why.

I really appreciate that someone points out the differences in the economic growth that other parts of the city is having compared to east of the river. Our homes values are no were near what is happening across the city and if you bought in the years before the economic downturn your property value is most likely still underwater while you read reports about record number sell prices. I live in the congress heights area and although I don't want it to be h street or adams morgan we should have some type of business district, somewhere to shop, eat and drink. Maybe just maybe we could use these community centers for community events. If you have to jump in your car to head out to md for everything what really is the point you could just move to md. The same townhouse of 250k would be a single family and you won't even have to search for parking. on Most expensive home in Congress Heights is $500k LESS than DC average

I bought a house off GH Rode. I spend most of my money for grocery/ home improvement in VA where I work. I could of spend them in W8. Is a farmers market once weekly too expensive/ difficult to make. I understand that development follows the money/ demographic but it goes the other way around too. on Revitalization 101: Stop being so secretive about what we really want.

I live in Ward 8 within walking distance of my neighborhood's main street and I would like to be able to walk to a restaurant or cafe, sit outside and have a meal and a drink. I would like to be able to do in my own neighborhood what I have to drive to do -- meet my friends for happy hour. I am tired of feeling like a 5th class citizen because I decided to buy a house east of the river. I think the face of Ward 8 has to change. Developers need to understand that there are people here NOW who are spending money on food, drinks, and retail -- we just have to drive somewhere else to spend our money. I also agree with the earlier comment that social service agencies need to just stop. Please stop turning every apartment building into another hub of homeless housing. You are not helping the situation, you are just making it worse. You are concentration poor people into an area that can't support them. We need you to take a pause and give us time to catch up economically so we can on Revitalization 101: Stop being so secretive about what we really want.

I live within walking distance of the Anacostia Metro station. It’s amazing that there aren’t much retail options within a 2 block radius from the station. I would love to see a pharmacy ( Walgreens preferred but CVS, Rite- Aid will work), a coffee shop (doesn’t have to be Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts is fine), dry cleaners (the current ones are on Good Hope Road or further up in the Safeway shopping complex) and a gym (the one in Salvation Army building close down sometime last year). I metro to work and many times I need to make a stop for items on my way home. Usually I get off the metro at Navy Yard or Eastern Market just to get basic items such as a toothbrush, birthday card, office supplies etc. Being originally from NYC, this is unusual even the lower income neighborhoods have basic retail shops within walking distance of the subway. Anacostia reminds of the Brownsville neighborhood in Brooklyn in regard to city housing. Many of the city social services of the borough are on Revitalization 101: Stop being so secretive about what we really want.

lmfao........just yesterday i asked my friend to bring me a cup of joe before he got to my house. Once he got here, he sarcastically says," you know there is no starbucks near here"..........I told him that there was one near the Navy Yard. We went back and forth about if that was close or not, but foreal's the closest. Tomorrow will be in Va for the movies...sigh on I want a damn...

Be careful what you wish for and 10 years is an awfully long time. If there was real reinvestment in Congress Heights with greater home ownership and special something that makes property values rise, then could you stand the cries of 'gentrification' and the news stories of people who had lived in a house X years only to have their stuff dumped on the sidewalk when the landlord decides to get a better paying tenant? Or what of the local pols handwringing about the loss of affordable housing, because 'nice' don't rent cheap. What about the pushback from residents who want to either be in denial or wallow in their dysfunction? When Congress Heights becomes that desired neighborhood you dream, it won't get there without a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. 10 years is a long time. It has taken that long for my neighborhood in NW to become the desired place I wished for, in the meantime, I've gotten older and grayer. 10 years is a long time to wait, but hey, I got an awesome 200% on Poverty Pimping 101 : Maintain the mentality at all costs

I had received information about these homes back in 2009 when they were called 4th street vista, I had watch the construction start and stop to never be restarted again. This project has been sitting with no activity for years. I had started inquire about the property at the beginning of the year, even called Ward 8 council office, no one really knew what was going on with the property. The story eventually turned into the developer going bankrupt. I could be mistaken but, it was my understanding that the homes were to be sold a market rate without all the affordable housing, rent to own and whatever other subsidies that developers are using to fund their projects east of the river, which is why I was attracted to it but may also be why it never got even half way completed. on Gentrification? Congress Heights Vistas up for auction.

I certainly haven't been able to find any safe, healthy, affordable housing in ward 8 or 7. I too have 3 degrees and am currently on disability. A lot of the places you listed are neither safe or healthy, and most have waiting lists for affordable units. There definitely is a need. on Would YOU live here? Why Ward 8 needs market rate rental units ASAP.

I agree with the post overall and believe that market rate projects should be a priority, but one of the commenter’s said it right, until you improve the lives of the people flashy buildings are just an illusion. Not sure how that is done, but the poverty won't just disappear. Look at the Salvation Army building on MLK, it was a nice piece of modern architecture at one point and now it's street level entrances are run down. The issue with EOTR Anacostia is unemployment , and the lack of interests to change that, unstable family structures, and generational government dependence. EOTH Anacostia as it stands today physically looks better than most of America of similar income levels ( Ride through Pennsylvania it’s like watching Back to The Future in 3D). Some of these communities haven't seen redevelopment in decades but the school systems, family structures, and fiscal priorities are in order. Most people in SE should just try driving around the Country and you'll see that a on Would YOU live here? Why Ward 8 needs market rate rental units ASAP.

Calvin, How exactly are you going to ask the store owners to invest in improving their store fronts and not take all their profits to their homes in Virginia? Till there is no competition they'll take all there profits to their mentions in in VA and big SUVs. Only completion can make them do so. And with the current demographic and luck of services I don't see it happening. on Would YOU live here? Why Ward 8 needs market rate rental units ASAP.

the biggest issue with long time renters in ward 8 that I have met is that they do not know/see the long term, bigger picture. All of them want to move to NW, PG or Virginia where they think things are nice. As opposed to making things just as nice where they live. So they daydream, fantasize and talk about moving to those areas for years and years (most never moving), while continuing to pay rent and never saving. People need to take a look at the Navy Yard area and see how all of the renters were kicked out via imminent domain while that one block of long term homeowners (who fought back) REMAINED. Saving that downpayment for my condo was challenging for me because it's just me. While people with children or other dependents have tons of programs that cater to them and practically throw money at them. There is no reason for Ward 8 to have such low home ownership other than people not seeing that what's right in front of them. on Poverty Pimping 101 : Maintain the mentality at all costs

Is there an agency that handles occupied nuisance properties? Unfortunately calling 7D to handle the apartments on 22nd and Savannah is absolutely useless. The residence of Oxon Creek has begged and pleaded with 7D and William C. Smith to control the violence and illegal activity for years. Yet we are still coming home to gunfire, gang activity and drug dealing. There is not one Townhome that backs to 22nd Street that doesn't have bullet holes. We personally came home to a bullets in bed and bedroom walls. We slept in the guest room until the summer was over. However just this past Sunday at approximately 10am multiple shots were fired on 22nd. We the residents of Oxon Creek Townhome feel so helpless. We pay our taxes so that a low-income property can bring fear to us each and everyday. What can be when William C Smith turn their heads as the collect government checks. It is only time that a bullet meant for a person on 22nd finds it way to a resident of Oxon Creek Townhome. I only on US ATTORNEY'S OFFICE OF DC- Nuisance Property Program

Was just tell someone today that I will be leaving the Navy Yard just when all these amenities start arriving. But, I will just think of Navy Yard as an extension of my new neighborhood until the amenities start coming to Anacostia. The mayor says we are all one city, right? on Is Capital Riverfront getting more of the development projects EotR yearns for?

I was just thinking the same thing. I was calling it "in-sourcing poverty" but ghetto-fication is also the PERFECT word: Round up all "un-desirables" and transport them to a closed society away from "wholesome and pure people". onSome Ward 7 ANC Commissioners not excited about SOME's plans for Benning Road development

Don't forget gas station where you actually feel safe cleaning out your car or God forbid having to put air in your tires. on Things I have to drive outside of Ward 8 to get today

Actually ANC 7C voted to oppose and continues to oppose the Capitol Gateway project before the Zoning Commission because the rental component was changed from Mixed Income rentals to 100% Affordable. FYI the Capitol Gateway project has one of the proposed Walmarts in Ward 7. To cut to the chase West of the River projects are given Government subsidies but as Tax abatements, Tax Increment Fiancing or other. East of the River are only Given Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Developers could build Market rate just as easily East of the River with those same incentives (Tax abatements etc.) problem is they are not offered. The decision to saturate low and affordable housing East of the River is 100% a Political decision and NOT the Real Estate Market. Gregori Stewart ANC 7C Chair onConcentrating "affordable" housing east of the river is the very definition of insanity.

I have to say I agree with what you said. I read the Big K study and it was pretty much just a justification to do nothing to facilitate local businesses or decent housing. Instead, it seems to be an opportunity for the city to cast away more things East of the River, rather than promoting real mixed income housing in other parts of the city. NIMBY is powerful and the city has no interest in challenging it. on Concentrating "affordable" housing east of the river is the very definition of insanity.

I have said for years it is an absolute disgrace that in the nation's capital, at the intersection named after two slain civil right's leaders that this has been allowed to happen for years. I too have complained about this long and often. It would be nice to have that area be a source of pride for the Ward 8 and DC community instead of the eyesore it has been allowed to become. Everyone needs a place to go, I just don't understand why the streets of our neighborhood are an acceptable solution. I agree with you, most of the people loitering on MLK Ave are from the shelter. Keep up the good fight! on Why does my DC neighborhood have to suffer so yours can prosper?

I grew up not far from there in the now demolished Linda Pollin Housing projects. Although I now live in Maryland, I pay attention to how the city is changing. I noticed that "developers" are very strategic in where they place certain types of housing. It seems to vary from block to block. It's unfortunate what they are doing in and through that corridor of MLKjr/Malcolm X. It's also unfortunate that many or most street names associated with these slain leaders--all over the US--are in depressed areas. Thanks for this article. Peace~ on Why does my DC neighborhood have to suffer so yours can prosper?

I agree with you, something has to be done. I'm working on a project in the area and when it rain it pours and that is people into local businesses and restaurants to shield themselves until the weather passes. I am trying to support the local business community but not at the expense of being bombarded by the homeless and teens with nothing to do asking me for money. I try to help who I can but this can't be everyday. It's to the point where I have to drive all the way to capitol hill and back just for lunch. Its not fair to the community for such a thing to take place. Hopefully the right people read this post and will work to stop this grass roots movement to keep ward 8 residents living in such a state of poverty. This is a great location and it shouldn't have to wait for development to push residents out, before it becomes livable. on Why does my DC neighborhood have to suffer so yours can prosper?

 feel the same way as I cringe giving people directions to my house and know they have to pass that ugly eyesore which is a welcome sign to "The Hood." I don't mind people needing a place to hang out since there are not many places like that in SE (e.g. community centers). But there has to be a balance and there's too much loitering and trash in a concentrated area. Has anyone else noticed the large barrels at the entrance to 295 off of Malcolm X? Are those barrels filled with toxic chemicals? Who do I complain to about this situation? on When turning a park into a parking lot sounds like a good idea

two words.....ATOM BOMB. I wish one would be dropped right in the middle of the park and suck up all four corners! on Lord forgive me but I really, really hate this park

This was a really wonderfully written post, and gets at the heart of everything that needs to be happening east of the River (and your own efforts are incredibly impressive!). One note I would make regarding your initial question -- why can't we build affordable/subsidized housing in other markets? -- is that, at the moment, affordable housing is often the only type of housing that a developer can get financing for in Wards 7 and 8. At this point, "market rate" rents in Ward 8 are so close to what's classified as affordable (60% of Area Median Income, which is $104,000 for a family of 4) that a traditional construction loan to do the project wouldn't be feasible, because no bank will underwrite rents that are so considerably lower than more attractive neighborhoods. This leaves the developer with the only choice to look for tax subsidies instead, which will require the project be affordable, with rents capped at 60% AMI. Low Income Housing Tax Credits are often the only way to get a on Why concentrate 'affordable' and subsidized housing in poor communities?

I really understand your need for a change of scenery and new inspiration plus a sense of hope. I moved to Congress Heights with lots of hope and dreams. But, after 2 years, I'm becoming disillusioned with the process of change which is slow among numerous amendments. on Here it is, my semi big announcement (again)

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Whitney Moore said...

I dont know if this help people but I own my house on Malcolm X and my house value went up 60,000 dollars.. Im so serious...I used to have an attitude of why did I move to this part of the city but when I saw the value of my house shoot up like that in 3 years im uber excited lol..

The Advoc8te said...

CONGRATULATIONS Whitney! That is great news! I am so happy for you. :) I wish that for the rest of my neighbors. Some modest gains to make the sacrifices feel like they were for something. :)

Anonymous said...

I will say it again, If you are dissatisfied with the environment, politicans, lack of buisness, run for office!!!! If so many people are disgusted with the present situation, you or your cohorts should get elected.

The Advoc8te said...

"I will say it again, If you are dissatisfied with the environment, politicans, lack of buisness, run for office!!!! If so many people are disgusted with the present situation, you or your cohorts should get elected."

That would be funny if I didn't know you were completely serious.

Anonymous said...

Agreed ANON 9:27; You want change--work toward it in public office. Use the blog as a way to educate ward 7 & 8 about how things are changing in the neighborhood not about how you hate that you condo association is failing and that YOU made a poor choice in picking somewhere to live.