On Wednesday, November 20, over 70 people filled the meeting room in the Tenleytown-Friendship Heights Library in support of Housing For All. Many assume that Ward 3, DC’s most affluent ward, to be insulated from concern over affordable housing that impacts the rest of the District, but students, clergy, and concerned residents all came out to learn and speak up for affordable housing. The event was co-sponsored by Good Faith Communities, a network of churches who serve the homeless and marginalized and advocate for adequate affordable housing and services. Many of their member congregations are located in Ward 3.
Among the Ward 3 organizations present were many that reach city-wide to help meet the need for affordable housing and resources for people who are homeless. Speakers shared impassioned stories of how Ward 3 organizations like Somerset Development Company, Community Preservation Development Corporation (CPDC), and Friendship Place have helped revive communities and touch lives.
Velle Phillips is a longtime resident of 1350 Clifton Street NW in Columbia Heights, a property owned and managed by CPDC. She spoke of the importance of her apartment for herself and her four children. “Just keeping my rent affordable helps me, because I don’t make a lot of money.” She values the education her children can get nearby and appreciates having her children “in an area where you’re going to see something beautiful and also something useful.” Somerset Development Company is currently working to preserve affordable housing and add workforce and market-rate housing at nearby Portner Place, keeping affordable housing in one of DC’s hottest markets on U Street. John Horsey told the moving story of finding housing with his wife after years on the street, including in the park across the street from the White House. Now, thanks to Friendship Place, they are able to have a place to call their own.
Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh joined the Ward 3 Town Hall as well. Councilmember Cheh has been outspoken in her concern for people who are homeless in DC. She reaffirmed her commitment to addressing the needs of those who are homeless in DC, and investing in affordable housing.
See more photos of the Town Hall in Ward 3.