Design concepts were unveiled last night at a community meeting to discuss the planned Ward 6 short-term family housing facility to be built at 850 Delaware Avenue. The site is currently occupied by a District-owned building that contains Unity Health Clinic. A new health clinic is planned as part of the new housing facility, located primarily on the lower level of the building with an entrance on I Street. The proposed building, designed by Studio 27 Architecture, will be seven stories tall and will house up to 50 homeless families at one time. On the ground floor of the building, there will be a dining room and kitchen, as well as a computer lab and administrative space. A fenced off play area will be created along Delaware Avenue. Each residential floor will have a common area on the north side of the building with TVs and seating where programming will be administered – these rooms will have views of the Capitol building due to their location along Delaware Avenue. In addition to the larger play area along Delaware Avenue, each floor will contain an outdoor play area. The design of the building maintains the view shed of the Capitol dome along Delaware Avenue by gradually stepping back the façade, creating small green spaces throughout. There will also be a large green roof, which helps the building obtain LEED-Gold certification.
Back in February, the community was alerted to the fact that the city selected 700 Delaware Avenue (a site adjacent to Blind Whino) as the location of the Ward 6 short-term family housing facility. The Bowser administration wanted to close DC General and place a family homeless shelter in each ward of the city. After some community concerns were raised about the proposed 700 Delaware Avenue site, how it was selected, and the cost to the city for leasing it for the shelter, the DC Council changed the location to the District-owned 850 Delaware Avenue site. An Advisory Team was created to allow a variety of voices from the community to provide input on the plan and design for the project, including the ANC, Council member Charles Allen, and neighbors Greenleaf, Capitol Park IV, and Telesis (developer of the Randall School project).
The facility's design will be refined over the next few weeks and the city will submit an application with the Board of Zoning Adjustment in January for the project, with the hope of starting construction after approval by November 2017. The Ward 6 facility is anticipated to open by the summer of 2019 when a Good Neighbor Agreement will be drafted.
Rendering courtesy of Studio 27 Architecture