Mayor Bowser announced this morning the location of eight community-based short-term family housing locations (family homeless shelters), one for each Ward of the city. These eight facilities will replace DC General, which is the current family homeless shelter and is scheduled for closure. Ward 6’s proposed location is on land adjacent to Blind Whino SW Arts Club at 700 Delaware Avenue. The proposed facility will house up to 50 families at a time in a seven-story building and may open by May 2018. According to the Mayor's office, the facility will offer the following:
- Private rooms for families
- Playground & recreation space (Randall Field is located next door so if these amenities are included in the building, they would be redundant)
- Computer lab for residents
- Ongoing support services & programming for families
|Former proposal for Square 643|
Back in 2003 Steve Tanner, the owner of 700 Delaware Avenue (Square 643), planned to transform the old Friendship Baptist Church building into office space and build condominiums on the adjacent land. The project received PUD approval over a decade ago, but was delayed several times due to inaction on the redevelopment of Randall Junior High School across the street (coincidentally, a homeless shelter used to be located at Randall, but closed in anticipation of its redevelopment as a museum/residential project). Eventually, the developer came to an agreement with Blind Whino to convert the church into the non-profit Blind Whino SW Arts Club and a mural was painted on the building's exterior. The club opened in 2013, but the residential portion of the original development was not built. Other temporary uses for the site included batting cages for a youth baseball league and a community garden.
With the proposed facility, the site's redevelopment would finally be complete; however, before construction can begin, the city will need to file a new PUD since the previous one for the site has expired. The DC Council will also need to approve all eight proposed sites. A community meeting to discuss the community-based short-term family housing proposal will be held on Thursday evening at 6:30pm at Friendship Baptist Church, located at 900 Delaware Avenue.
Renderings courtesy of DC Government and Steve Tanner