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Southeast D.C. Residents Protest A Planned Shelter

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Some Anacostia residents are protesting plans to build a new shelter in their neighborhood.
Emily Friedman
Some Anacostia residents are protesting plans to build a new shelter in their neighborhood.

In the heart of historic Anacostia, signs of reinvestment are popping up after decades of blight. However, many neighbors fear they could be at risk because of one, more recent development.

Calvary Women's Services, a local non-profit, which provides housing and support services to women, is currently building a transitional home on the 1200 block of Good Hope Road. Greta Fuller, ANC08(03) commissioner, says this block is "really the main place that's gonna spur revitalization and growth for Anacostia. But, it will never get revitalized if we continue to get social service programs that don't add revenue."

Within a 5-block radius of this block, there are at least 20 social service agencies, including Bread for the City, Good Hope Road Youth Center, a program for ex-offenders, and Good Hope Institute, one of the only methadone clinics in the metropolitan area.

Fuller says news that the shelter is coming has already cut into prospects for retail development. She says she spoke with one man looking to open a tapas bar in historic Anacostia.

"He's deciding against it now, since the shelter is coming," she says. "He said he didn't think that a tapas bar would survive."

At a community meeting last week, Calvary's executive director, Kris Thompson, explained the organization will be investing $3 million into the building, and are committed to the revitalization of the neighborhood. Calvary bought the building, to be called "Good Hope Kitchen," on Good Hope Road in December 2010, and is currently remodeling the space to open by June 2012. Calvary is relocating from Chinatown, where the organization has operated since its founding in 1983. Thompson says transitional housing doesn't mean a commercial center can't flourish.

"We've been in located in the Chinatown-Gallery place neighborhood during its redevelopment over the past 25 years, and have seen tremendous changes," Thompson says. "It's our hope that that would happen here in Anacostia as well."


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Photos: Anacostia Shelter

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