Saturday, February 25, 2006

St. Martin's Apartments "Community" Update from Father Kelley

Welcome to the first issue of St. Martin¡¯s Apartments Community
Update, a community newsletter designed to keep you informed of
St. Martin¡¯s Catholic Church¡¯s plans to bring mixed-income housing to
our neighborhood. The development of St. Martin¡¯s Apartments is
grounded in the belief that people of all income levels, races and
cultural backgrounds deserve well-designed, safe and affordable
housing. In addition to enhancing the community¡¯s value and helping
those less fortunate, it also addresses the District¡¯s affordable
housing crisis by creating housing for working class people. This
housing will be a sustainable community resource where one might
live, become more established and move on to the next stage. . .
perhaps even homeownership. What is important is that a housing
resource will still be here for the next family in need.

To bring this development to fruition, we partnered with Catholic
Community Services (CCS) and invested more than $28 million to build
184 apartments for working families and individuals. A Neighborhood
Steering Committee (NSC), comprised of neighbors, representatives
from seven area churches, the Ecumenical Council (EC), and civic
organizations, has guided the planning of this project and will
continue to help oversee its management. With St. Martin¡¯s
Apartments, we look forward to bringing the first new affordable
housing to our neighborhood in more than three decades.

For more than a 100 years, St. Martin¡¯s has been an integral part of
the community and led the fight to rid the neighborhood of
undesirable activities and blight. Through our partnership with
community leaders, we succeeded in reducing prostitution, crime and
drug activity in the community. Now, we want to give residents who
helped make this a safer neighborhood an opportunity to remain in it.

St. Martin¡¯s Apartments will bring neighborhood-enhancing design and
quality to a former convent. Located at 116 T Street, NE, the
structure is a secluded building atop a hill, isolated from the
community and it needs a lot of work. It currently features black
tarmac surface parking and an aluminum Quonset hut. Further cutting
the site off from the neighborhood is the fact that there are no
sidewalks on the Todd Place side, which decreases accessibility.
quality property management and landlord services to 17 formerly
homeless men who are fully employed. This home is so well run that
many neighbors don¡¯t know the building is occupied.

In keeping with our core values, St. Martin wants to use the site to
build affordable housing for working families and individuals in the
District who are facing displacement due to increasing rents and the
lack of affordable rental housing in their community. The plan

¡ñ 134 one and two bedroom apartments renting to individuals whose
annual income is 60% of the District¡¯s current median income, which
is from $30,000 to $54,000 per year depending upon family size.
These units will rent between $869 and $1,039 per month.
¡ñ 50 Jr. one-bedroom apartments renting to formerly homeless
individuals whose annual income is about $18,000. These units will
rent for about $500 per month.
¡ñ Based on community input, we will include some market-rate units.
¡ñ 120-140 underground parking.
¡ñ An exercise facility and community meeting spaces.

Our architects have designed a first-class building with quality
amenities and spectacular views of the Capitol and monuments.
Amenities include: in-unit laundry/dryer, fully equipped open
kitchens, direct access from underground parking, and double pane
windows. Our design blends with and complements the historical
character of neighboring town homes. The Todd Place facade is
designed to resemble a series of townhouses and will contain an
internal landscaped courtyard and separate child¡¯s play area, as well
as, two roof terraces to provide solitude and quiet green space. The
two bedroom units will be a spacious 1,050 sq ft with two baths and
one bedroom will be 750 sq. ft. Building amenities will include: an
exercise room, clubroom, library with fireplace, and community
meeting space. A professional management company will manage the
building and maintain the highest standards of property management by
enforcing community rules, adhering to strict rental and occupancy
criteria and ensuring that the building is a good neighbor to the

In keeping with the District¡¯s Comprehensive Housing Strategy and the
Ward 5 Plan, St. Martin¡¯s Apartments is a mixed-income development
for families and individuals and everyone living here will be fully
employed or a retiree with a pension. Also, in fulfilling Catholic
Community Services¡¯ mission, we will make 50 apartments available to
graduates of various CCS self-sufficiency programs. These
individuals will have incomes of approximately $18,000 and will
include the 17 men currently living on the premises who are formerly
homeless and fully employed. (Many Americans are unaware that most
homelessness is due to life circumstances and less than a third of
the homeless have ever experienced addiction.)

The people who will live here are working families, government
employees, fire cadets, library aides, and hospital, hotel, and
restaurant workers. Everyday people like those pictured below.

St. Martin¡¯s Apartments will add substantial value to the community
► Job opportunities at a livable wage for District residents
► Local business contract opportunities
► New community meeting room
► Neighborhood enhancing design
► New landscaping along T Street and Summit
► New sidewalks and landscaping along Todd Street
► Improved security with cameras, security screens, and controlled
► $28 million investment in the neighborhood

¡°I own a home in this neighborhood and want to make certain that my
property value is protected. I am glad St. Martin¡¯s is making this
investment in improving our community.¡± ---Karen Cotton

¡°I like the idea of having more neighbors because retail follows
density and we need neighborhood-serving retail like a coffee house,
caf¨¦ or a book store.¡± ------Mrs. Alice Turner

¡°We are retired and once operated a deli in the neighborhood. We¡¯d
like to move back. Thank goodness there will be a new decent and
safe place to live.¡± ---Earl and Gertrude

Hundreds of Edgewood and Eckington neighbors and Ward 5 residents and
more than a dozen community institutions support St. Martin¡¯s
Apartments as affordable and workforce housing including AN5C whose
opinion is given ¡°great weight¡± by the Board of Zoning Adjustment
(BZA). The following are a few of our supporters:

¡ö The Edgewood Civic Association
¡ö Eckington Parishioners of St. Martin¡¯s for Workforce Housing
¡ö Manna, Inc.
¡ö Brentwood Civic Association
¡ö Neighborhood Steering Committee
¡ö Ecumenical Council of Churches (7 Local Churches)
¡ö WIN (45 City-wide Churches)

Like our Eckington neighbors, the residents who will live at St.
Martin¡¯s Apartments will reflect a diverse cross section of the
community. To get to know prospective residents, speak with your
child¡¯s charter school teacher, the one who recently began his career
and wants to serve District children.

Speak with some newly weds looking for a welcoming and diverse

Talk to a young couple who are just starting their family and want to
live in a safe, quiet community.

►Feb. 21 ANC 5C Approved Development
►Feb. 27 Edgewood Civic Association meeting at McKinley, 7 PM
►Mar. 12 Full Community Meeting at McKinley, 3PM

For more information, contact Ward 5 Citizens for Workforce Housing
at 202.316-6451 or email us at

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