LOOSE LIPS’ REPLY (THE Mail, 11/19) regarding “Boarding House Ruse” once again misrepresents development plans for N Street Village.
Since this proposed housing community doesn’t yet exist, attempts to understand it, appreciate it, and compare it with those that already exist will be futile. The challenge here is to switch gears—to begin thinking beyond what is to the possibility of what can be.
In developing the N Street Village concept, the focus has remained constant: to add permanent, affordable rental housing to the existing continuum of community services. However, there have been numerous design modifications made in response to neighborhood comments and professional practitioners’ recommendations. Keeping pace with the evolution of this new paradigm is a challenge even for the most alert and best informed.
In an eight-story building facing northwest 14th Street, N Street Village will provide 50 one-, two-, and three-bedroom permanent rental apartments for low-income families, including those who were formerly homeless and have successfully completed a formal transitional housing program. A separate and adjoining building on the site (facing Vermont Avenue and N Street) will provide an additional 14 apartments of various sizes and configurations to accommodate formerly homeless women served by the Village’s existing supportive housing program, and space for a continuum of supportive services offered to residents: child day-care and after-school care for children who reside at N Street Village; a learning center that offers literacy classes; remedial educational courses, computer training and other job-related skill enhancement opportunities; and a wellness center that provides counselingservices and educational activities such as parenting, stress reduction, and nutrition classes. Underground parking on the site will accommodate an estimated 50 cars.
Yes, we will continue to provide housing and supportive services for formerly homeless women, and supportive services for the homeless women who reside in the Luther Place Night Shelter across N Street in the church. There is no shelter in the proposed Village housing complex.
Given the high visibility of this project, the myths created by secondhand information in newspaper columns like “Loose Lips,” and the outright lies and other misrepresentations by some who have “challenged” the intentions of N Street Village, you and others should not be surprised to experience a certain amount of confusion in sorting out fact from fiction. All the more reason to stay close to the source of reliable information that the church will be pleased to provide.
The late Councilmember John Wilson met with Luther Place representatives to discuss plans for N Street Village, and was informed about who is likely to reside there. More specifically, he was informed that low-income families are the target population. N Street Village is bound to do so by law, since its leadership has applied for low-income housing tax credits.
Councilmember Jack Evans’ claims are unfounded and reveal his unwillingness or inability to accept what is so, denying facts, figures, and pictures. His shelter fantasy is a creation of his own imagination. Evans is hardly the one to evaluate what the project is or is not.
Your declaration that Pastor John Steinbruck “fled D.C. for the suburbs” is inaccurate. When called to Luther Place in 1969, the congregation already owned the parsonage located in Alexandria where the pastor and his family were expected to reside.
Luther Place Church has been a place of hospitality “on call” 24 hours a day at Thomas Circle for 120 years. I respectfully suggest that you consider retiring the very fatigued clichés used to suggest that the pastors or members of Luther Place did not “stay behind.”
One more point of clarification: The $5 million grant was a special appropriation by Congress and is not under Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) homeless program. Fact is, it is under no existing HUD program. That’s what makes it a “special purpose grant.”
Parish Administrator, Luther Place Memorial Church, Logan Circle