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The nonprofit D.C. Center, serving gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) Washingtonians, is losing its home. In six weeks, the center, which houses organizations including the Washington Blade and the Latino GLBT History Project, will have to leave its current digs at 1810 14th Street NW.
The center’s executive director, David Mariner, tells City Desk that the building’s owner, JBG Properties, has plans to turn the place into condos. Previously, JBG let the nonprofit occupy the space for the cost of utilities, he says.
The center’s displacement comes at the worst possible time, Mariner says. With the rate of hate crimes and HIV infection, the city is one of the least safe places for members of the GLBT community, he says.
The city had planned to give the center $1 million to purchase a new building, Mariner says, but that that money was first cut in half and then completely eliminated amid Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry‘s attack on legislative earmarks. The group lost the funding in August 2009, he says.
The lack of support from the District in its hour of need is problematic, Mariner says. In New York, $17.65 is spent on each member of the GLBT community in support of equality in that state, while D.C. devotes just $3.83.
“The city has properties,” he fumes, “it could give us a building tomorrow.”