The location of the future Ward 5 homeless shelter has been a hot topic ever since Mayor Muriel Bowser announced plans to replace DC General Family Shelter with homeless shelters in each Ward of DC. In February we wrote about issues a lot of folks had about the original shelter location proposed for Ward 5, because of its proximity to a trash transfer station, bus lots, a strip club, a night club, and limited access to mass transportation and amenities like a grocery store. Then Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie held a town hall meeting to discuss proposed locations on Friday, May 27, although it was announced that he supported the former MPD Building at 1700 Rhode Island Avenue, NE as the site for the shelter prior to the meeting. On the heels of that meeting, on May 31st, the DC City Council approved the 17th and RIA Ward 5 location, along with the other city-wide locations.
Now some residents are raising concerns about the location and are circulating a petition to ask for a hearing. You can view the petition here. Among the concerns are that the proposed homeless shelter is for 40 families, but the lot size is only 12,000 square feet, which would not house that many people. This is also a historic building, (check out some cool old pics here) and although there has been city-wide discussions about shelter locations for many months, neighbors who were not plugged in/aware to the hearings and meetings have been caught off guard. CM McDuffie’s meeting unfortunately was announced with only a few days’ notice, and held on the Friday evening before Memorial Day weekend, so not exactly ideal timing.
This topic will be discussed at this month’s Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA) meeting on Tuesday, July 19th at 7 pm at Brooks Mansion. Representatives from CM McDuffie’s office and DC Department of Human Services will be in attendance to talk more about the proposed homeless shelter, the general process, and what to expect next.
The meeting will cover a number of hot neighborhood topics in addition to the shelter, like the proposed alley closure at 901 Evarts and the Howard University Divinity School development. Brooks Mansion is located at 901 Newton St NE.