Ewwww Poor PeopleThat's the title I gave one letter I got sometime back from someone asking about the area and expressing concern about one of Shaw's many affordable/ subsidized housing blocs. I'd like to think that I gently addressed the writer's concerns and pointed out that the affordable housing was one of the things that maintained the diversity of the Shaw neighborhood that makes it vibrant and unique. I know I didn't say that diversity is sometimes a pain in the a$$, though that's true too.
I was reminded of that letter at a blogger breakfast hosted by Bread For The City yesterday. I, Mr. ReNewShaw, and a few others got a tour of the 7th Street office. Let me throw out a few things that I remember from the talk, about 1/2 of the 7th St B4tC's clients come from the 20001 zip code, and grand majority come from NW DC. The offices are crowded, there isn't much space for the privacy that is needed, their legal offices handle Social Security, Medicare/caid (can't remember), landlord/tenant court issues, and they need more space for a waiting area that can handle families. They are so hurting for space that the room where we were to have the breakfast was taken over by other folks in the few minutes the room was left empty, causing our group to move to a smaller adjoining office.
In the discussion after the tour we talked about what relationships could be built between B4tC, bloggers and the greater community and gentrification. Shaw is diverse, with race, orientation, age, nationality, background, and income and that is the thing that makes it interesting. And yes, the diversity can be too interesting and annoying. But to be diverse and remain diverse, the organizations and options for all persons along the economic spectrum need to be there.