Another Ward 8 Group Home: Valley Ave. SE
Group homes, transitional housing – it seems to have exploded in recent months in Ward 8. I will be the first to confess, I’m not an expert, authority or investigator of such services, but they have been brought to light lately with the Calvary Women’s Shelter in Anacostia, the Ex-Convicts Halfway House, and Candidate Natalie Williams Sit-In scheduled for next week to discuss this very topic.
At last weeks ANC8E meeting the planned group home in the 200 block of Valley Ave. SE. was a topic of discussion. The plans were first brought to the comissions attention on January 7th when the buildings neighbor reached out to me once she learned of the intended use of the property. At the ANC meeting, the owner and the operator of the group home presented their plans with lots of opposition from the community members in attendance. It’s important to note that there were several members of the community in attendance that support the home and the services they provide.
A lenghty, and at times contensious conversation about the home followed Council Chairman Brown’s attendance.
About the space and the project:
+There are two buildings that will have 8 units each to house two children per room.
+ Children will be between the ages of 12-17.
+ The children have mental disabilities and will be under monitor and surveillance 24 hours a day.
+ The children will have transportation to and from school each day, and there will be 2 security guards on site overnight when the daytime specialists leave.
About the neighborhood opposition:
+ They are there by matter of right and plan to open the group home.
+ It was not their intention to not be forthcoming with the community – they just suspiciously never came to an ANC meeting, passed our flyers or otherwise sought to be a “good neighbor” in their entry to the area.
Several members of ANC8E have reached out to various DC offices to determine the requirements, zonin and paperwork that must be in place in order for the home to open. More to follow on what we find out.
I think it is important to note that the general sentiment at the meeting was that we as a community are not against supporting youth and programs that help with the betterment and progression of our neighborhood. However, collectively we feel that this project was not correctly introduced to the community and fear the ramifications of introducing additional social programs to an area already “oversaturated” with such services.
There will be more to follow I’m sure.