It was announced today that the Central Union Mission homeless shelter has come to a new arrangement with the city government and will move from Logan Circle to 65 Massachusetts Ave NW. The mission sold their Logan Circle property for $7 million and intended to move in 2009 to a Petworth/Georgia Ave location they purchased two years ago.
Today DC Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) made the announcement about this shift in plans to Mass Ave. From what I’ve read, Graham and the members of the Petworth community did not feel placing a shelter of this size (170 beds) on Georgia Ave was a fit for their revitalization efforts. The mission management was agreeable to this change of venue as a greater concentration of homeless reside downtown.
The new Massachusetts Ave address is the old Gales School and is just outside the Triangle near the crossing of Mass and New Jersey Avenues. Google Maps suggested this was just 0.4 miles from my namesake intersection of 4th and Eye.
What does this mean for the Triangle? There is a substantial homeless population in the downtown area who need housing. On the otherhand, studies suggest that massive “meal and mattress” facilities are not the most effective approach. Mayor Fenty announced today that their new “Housing First” initiative is the preferred approach.
The website MissionDCFacts.com has a 2007 quote from the Senior Director of the mission, Barfonce Britton Baldwin, stating “I understand. If the Mission tried to move into my neighborhood, I would oppose it too.“
Honestly, I’ve never been part of the solution to this particular issue. So I want to keep an open mind. But from a real estate perspective I’d be concerned if the Gales School was directly adjacent to my building. What is encouraging is the various comments I have come across on blogs from the mission’s current neighbors in Logan Circle suggest that shelter has never created problems. What are the thoughts of others?
Actually I did just come across a rather damning comment from a Logan resident: