Wednesday, October 22, 2003

New Deal in Housing
I glad for the folks featured in the Post's Housing Program Chalks Up Win ( but this is still shiny and new. Hopefully they will be able to keep up the maintenance and keep it a desirable place for both the public assistance and the market rate renters.

What does this have to do with Shaw? Nothing directly. Indirectly it is a housing issue, and Shaw has housing issues. There are a few public housing projects around and about Shaw and housing projects tend to be the targets of these new ideas.

The question I have about these type of mixed income projects that never show up as an answer is what's the long term view? They don't give too many examples of previous mixed income projects that have been around for a long period of time. I wonder will the market rate people stick around after the newness rubs off, as market rate people have more choices and opportunities. I think of Boston's Harbor Point/Columbia Point, not far from the JFK Presidential Library where I interned one summer. Of course, this was a nice waterfront housing project, stuck in a somewhat questionable (according to some Bostonian friends) neighborhood. That is usually pointed to as a success.

Another thing about the Post article was a brief mention of programs for tenants. There was another Post article a week or so back about apartments in Eckington/Brookland area where it no longer looks like a projects building, that also had programs for tenants. This, I believe, is very important. People need real jobs, the training to get and keep those jobs, and programs to keep them from falling. Change the decor all you want, but without jobs you're not doing a thing to combat poverty and poor conditions that helped the environment to go down. Also in the creation of mixed income housing, those low income folks who can possibly move into mid-income (easier said than done, I know) levels, may have a greater chance of staying in the new development. If Harbor Point is a model, then 2/3 of the tenants must be mid-income. If it is one-for-one replacement or less, with those ratios the low income residents will lose spots in the new project.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Developers Find Profit In Selling, Not Renting (

A cause for some housing problems maybe?

Of course a question will be, what happens when these folks who normally rent decide they want to up and move? Will they be opened up for rentals?

And is it me or what, but is every new project I see a luxury condo? What about plain old condos? Anyone make any of those anymore?

Monday, October 20, 2003

Gentrification & me, issue 5

Posted a lecture (I won't be able to get to because of a conflict in my schedule) titled "Housing Needs for the City and Region: Does the superheated housing market in Logan Circle contribute to concentrated poverty in Ivy City?" Wish I could go because it sounds silly (not to belittle anyone's research) to me. This is a metro area, so the poor are not limited to Ivy City. There are perfectly good neighborhoods in PG County. What I gather she may mean is there are fewer neighborhoods for low income folks to relocate to so there is greater concentration in neighborhoods they can afford.

Yet I looked at some of her earlier research and there seems to be a lot of focus on neighborhoods that are predominately white and adjacent to predominately white neighborhoods. Another problem as mentioned in the report was high mobility rates of 62 percent for the District.

I'm wonder if the cure is as bad as the disease. On one hand you have low investment in areas, the housing stock is allowed to deteriorate (to the point of no return) and a negative growth rate for the District. When an area looks attractive profit-wise and investors invest, and people find it worthwhile to restore the housing stock, it becomes unaffordable to lower income families. Another problem I have is the income level. It treats a single mom making $30K the same way as a family of four. A household could be 1,2, 3, 4 persons. Income of $30,000 and one person, you could live in a Dupont studio apartment. The same amount for that single mom, doesn't go as far, maybe a 1 bedroom in Brookline or the apartments at Mt. Vernon Sq. Same income for a family of four... I have no clue what you can do with that. Also the 25% of your income going to housing does not apply. For me it never applied, it was more like 40%-50% of my income going to housing.

Ghetto Marts

Yes, it is confirmed that the new little mom & pop is a ghetto mart. This is how the definitions go:

Quickie Mart- 7-11 or something like that. Prices high, selection low. Must have aisles, must have essentials like TP, milk, eggs, coffee or other hot food item, and mac & cheese.

Ghetto Mart- similar to the quickie mart, except it has one or several of the following traits: a fine varied selection of 40s; cashier in a plastic box to prevent any human contact; dark store with bad lighting.

The new store has the people in the plastic box. But they have eggs and milk so I will likely wander over despite the insulting people in a box set up.

Yes, I have a problem with the plastic box. I understand the plastic box, but I hate the plastic box. What I hate even more is plastic box with lazy susan feature, to take out all human contact. Such features run against my image of the neighborhood. The plastic box, along with the selection of 40s screams GHETTO. The plastic box say, I don't trust none of you and this is a bad neighborhood. The 40s, say you just want to get drunk real quick, bunch of alcoholics.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Cancelled Party

I was planning a pretty good party. For All Saints Day, Nov 2, a few friends, a few copies of historical documents, some readings, & food.

But my contractor wants to start early. Party cancelled.

I got to clean out the dining room to make a staging area for the kitchen redo. Toss out some things, box alot of things, toss out the non-functioning CD player, and figure out how I'm going to live without a kitchen for nearly a month.... 2 words. Hot plate.

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