See this 1/26/2011 Washington Examiner article on the controversial topic of the plans by the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC)/YouthBuild Public Charter School (YBPCS) for the J.F. Cook School on the unit block of P Streeet NW.
Note that the article title in the print version of this article is different than the online version. The print version article heading is ``Neighbors protest subsidized housing at youth center.``
And note that ANC 5C02 Commissioner Sylvia Pinkney, Lori Kaplan of LAYC and Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. are quoted.
Neighborhood, youth center at odds over subsidized housing
Residents: Area used as dumping ground for DC social services
Residents of the Truxton Circle neighborhood east of Howard University are banding together to protest subsidized housing at a proposed school and job training center, a move that could stymie the two-year-old project as it heads to the D.C. Council.
Locals say they are not against the charter school by the Latin American Youth Center that would help rehabilitate youths ~ but their neighborhood is becoming a dumping ground for social services without regard to community amenities.
Sylvia Pinkney, a commissioner on the area`s Advisory Neighborhood Commission, said Truxton Circle already has 13 social services such as Rachel`s Women`s Center or Isaiah House.
``We are not getting what we want ~ we want retail,`` she said. ``We would like some kind of business in Cook School that would draw people from outside of the community to our community.``
The Latin American Youth Center, based in Adams Morgan, wants to convert and expand the upper floors of the now-closed John F. Cook School building near North Capital and P streets into 20 apartments, 18 of which would house up to 47 young adults who are or are about to be homeless. The ground floor would hold the school and training center.
But residents are opposing what is essentially a non-negotiable aspect of the project ~ the youth center`s $13 million in funding from Lower Income Housing Tax Credits, private foundation money and a smaller portion from the Department of Mental Health, goes away if the project doesn`t include Section 8 housing.
``It`s not simply that we`re ignoring their concerns,`` said Lori Kaplan, the center`s executive director. ``It`s to change the housing tanks the entire project.``
Kaplan said the funding only allowed them to offer the neighborhood a reduced number of residents in the subsidized housing after both sides were told by D.C. Council to work out a compromise. Pinkney said this week that residents wanted five apartments or less; the number of people wasn`t the point.
``We are at an impasse,`` she said.
The council resolution that authorizes the city to lease the building to the youth center`s Youthbuild Public Charter School was reintroduced this month and expires in mid-February. Ward 5 Councilman Harry Thomas Jr. said the council would like to act but the inflexibility of the project`s funding complicates the issue.
``It puts me in a very awkward position because I`m very much a supporter of the school and the program, but at some point we have to listen to the public`s input,`` Thomas said.