Senior villages offer services to older area residents including home maintenance, assistance with shopping and medical appointments and social events. There are currently eight senior villages in D.C., including the Capitol Hill Village.
The effort to bring a village to Southwest began in 2013 when the Waterfront Gateway Neighborhood Association and the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly noted the need for more services for seniors in the area. Last October, the SGNA began a partnership with the D.C. Office on Aging to establish the village.
Senior villages are membership-based nonprofit organizations with a goal of making it easier for older residents to live safely in their homes and connect with their neighbors, according to the DCOA website.
Villages typically offer home services such as grocery delivery and maintenance, health a nutritional support services, financial and legal services and social activities, according to Bob Craycraft, the Executive Director of the WGNA.
Craycraft said that the WGNA is currently surveying residents to find out which services are most needed in the Southwest and Navy Yard area.
“We’re trying to gauge the interest in the community to see if we have enough of a membership base to justify the launch of a village,” he said. “We’re trying to determine where people’s needs are and asking what people what is of key interest to them.”
Those who might be interested in a senior village in Southwest can sign up for a listserv by emailing [email protected]. An automated response email links listserv members to a survey where they can express which aspects of the village they are most interested in.
Craycraft added that the WGNA hopes to partner with St. Augustine Episcopal Church at 617 I St. SW to help administer the village, which may base its offices in the church. The church already offers nutritional services for seniors in the area.
Neighborhood leaders asked D.C. government to reissue its request for proposals for the development of 261 17th St. SE, the former Eastern Branch Boys and Girls Club building. But the interim director of the Department of General Services says that won’t happen.
“DGS cannot address the request for a longer lease term,” Jonathan Kayne wrote in a letter to ANC 6B.
During months of community review, DGS offered a 25-year lease for use of the 31,00-square-foot-facility, which is two blocks west of the Stadium Armory Metro station. Century Associates, a developer who proposed market-rate units for seniors, said that lease term will make it nearly impossible to secure financing for the project. In response, ANC 6B asked DGS to offer a 99-year lease for the space.
“We feel that the short lease length unnecessarily limited the number of proposals the agency received and has resulted in a process that has led to one proposal,” ANC 6B Commissioner Brian Flahaven wrote on his blog, where he published the letter.
The second bid for the space, from Dantes Partners, proposes affordable units for seniors. Both proposals are still in the running.
Developers presented two bids last night for the creation of senior citizen housing in the former Eastern Branch Boys and Girls Club building, but to-be-determined District rules on affordable housing creation will determine the exact makeup of the project.
The firm Dantes Partners laid out plans for 49 affordable units, 5,000 square feet of community space and two stories added to the long-closed building at 261 17th St. SE. A competing bid from Century Associates would create 25 market-rate units, 2 apartments for caregivers and 4,200 square feet of children’s play space to the building two blocks west of the Stadium-Armory Metro station. That plan would not add to the building’s height.
But new inclusionary zoning regulations expected from Mayor Muriel Bowser will determine how many units in the city-owned building will be rented at designated affordable rates.
Department of General Services planner Stephen Campbell said his office needed more information on whether rules in effect when the bid was issued, when it will be awarded or when permits are approved will apply.
“We will seek to have that clarity,” he said. DGS plans to award the project in February.
Century Associate president Joel Kelty said his proposal called for all market-rate units. “We didn’t feel, given the funding we had, that it was financially feasible,” he said.
Longtime resident Pat Taylor said she didn’t want an all-affordable building in Hill East.
“You’re coming into a mixed-use neighborhood. Why would you put a low-income building in our neighborhood?” she said, noting that she would prefer a mixed-income development.
ANC 6B may wait for more information from the District before the group advises selection of a proposal, vice-chair Brian Flahven said.
“I don’t want to recommend an option that is automatically disqualified,” he said.
Homes in the Dantes Partners development — which would be financed through federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits — would be 600 to 800 square feet and cost about $1,000 per month. The Century Associates building would have units as large as 1,300 square feet each, with rent of about $3,000 per month for a two-bedroom.
The Boys and Girls Club was closed in August 2007 because of rising costs and low enrollment, officials told The Washington Post that year. The city bought the building plus two Boys and Girls Clubs in Columbia Heights and Georgetown for $20 million total, but later declared the building to be surplus property. The building in a prime location has asbestos and bird droppings inside, and it’s roof is leaking, Kelty said.
“Our whole goal is to get this building activated again,” Flahaven said.