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Final Report on Research Partnership with Faithworks, Spring 2005 by zzz22140

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									  Final Report on Research Partnership with Faithworks, Spring 2005
           Brendan Lane, Jennifer Bonsall, Jordyne Blaise, Sean Sanford
              Under Professor Sam Marullo, Georgetown University


                                   Research Problem
       Anacostia is a community whose residents are currently facing challenging social
issues in a number of areas, one being affordable housing. Over the last several decades,
its affordable housing has become considerably dilapidated and degraded, while from the
1990’s onward federal housing aid has been considerably reduced, including funding cuts
for housing choice vouchers and demolition of public housing to make way for mixed-
income projects.     In the near future, Anacostia is likely to be impacted by
large-scale redevelopment, according to plans created by the D.C. Office of Planning
under its Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, undertaken by public and private developers.
Redevelopment will improve neighborhoods; at the same time, it will also harm residents,
particularly the many Anacostians with low incomes, as it will increase housing prices
and thus possibly cause displacement through gentrification. The challenge we face is
how to maintain affordable housing in communities undergoing rapid redevelopment so
as to maintain ethnic and socioeconomic diversity and serve the needs of all residents.
       Faithworks, Inc, is a non-profit organization seeking to mitigate this threatening
displacement before it occurs. Faithworks, under Director Robert Boulter, has in the past
coordinated and assisted coalitions of local churches and other faith-based organizations
(FBO’s) to carry out affordable housing and other community development in challenged
neighborhoods like Columbia Heights, and plan to replicate such successes with the
extensive faith-based community in Anacostia. In order to develop a comprehensive plan
and process to achieve this goal, Faithworks requires a knowledge base of the presence,
resources, and opportunities for affordable housing among FBO’s in Anacostia.
       To assist this effort, Georgetown University faculty and students are partnering
with Faithworks to research the presence and resources of Anacostia FBO’s available for
affordable housing development, as well as the interests, ideas, and concerns of
community members regarding development. The resulting information can then be
provided to Faithworks and its local partners to help coordinate their affordable housing
development efforts with an increased knowledge of local resources and conditions.


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                        Description of the Anacostia Community
       Located in Ward 8 in the Southeast Quadrant, Anacostia and its surrounding
neighborhoods are separated from the rest of D.C. by the Anacostia River, which has
contributed to a sense of distinction or even isolation from the city’s centers of
population, wealth, and influence. Since the 1950’s, its formerly mixed black and white,
working- to middle-class population has become predominantly black and lower-income;
residents were 97% black in 2000 with an average family income of $30,283 in 1999,
2.3% lower than in 1989.1 Compared to the average D.C. family income of $78,478 in
1999, Anacostia is one of D.C.’s lowest-income communities. Thanks to such factors as
“suburban flight” of more affluent residents from the 1960’s onwards and isolation from
the District government and private investors in commerce and infrastructure, residents of
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this area suffer from poverty     (38% in 2000, up from 33% in 1990)           and associated
problems such as crime (25 violent crimes per 1,000 residents from 1998 to 2000) 3.
Also, Anacostia generally exhibits a considerable degree of degradation and
disinvestment in such areas as retail (for example, there are no supermarkets in Ward 8),
infrastructure, and public services.
       Despite these considerable flaws and disadvantages, Anacostia also boasts some
positive attributes as a community. Its distance from the central city affords it a pleasant,
almost bucolic landscape of hills and greenery, a potential aesthetic asset if social
conditions are improved, and its history, particularly as an African-American community,
is preserved in such institutions as the home of abolitionist Frederick Douglas
(now a museum) and a local branch of the Smithsonian Museum. More importantly,
there is a great degree of community solidarity and social capital despite the poverty,
crime, and other problems, represented in residents’ active participation in civic
associations and particularly in the many churches, ranging from small “storefront”
operations along Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue to major landmarks like Union Temple
Baptist or Matthews Memorial, collectively wielding great influence and affluence as
anchors of the community.
       Anacostia residents face potential changes in the area of affordable housing over
the next few years. Even now, over 40% of Anacostia residents pay rents or other
housing costs which are unaffordable, exceeding the federal standard of 30% of income.4



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As elsewhere, affordable housing is likely to decrease: D.C. lost 1,500 units of federally
subsidized housing between 1998 and 20005; will receive 1,417 fewer housing choice
vouchers in 2005, and 1,952 fewer by 20106; has 5,665 private units whose contracts for
federal subsidies are set to expire by 20087; and is the site for several projects under the
HOPE VI program, which will demolish 2,900 units of public housing to create mixed-
income communities with only 1,585 new units for lower-income families.8
       Moreover, the area has been targeted for extensive redevelopment. Under the
Anacostia Waterfront Initiative to rejuvenate neighborhoods along the river, sites like the
Poplar Point park, Anacostia Metro station, and Gateway Government Center are
scheduled to be redeveloped, and investments made in infrastructure and other assets.
Private developers, for example Bank of America, William C. Smith, and Douglas Jamal,
have also entered the area, sometimes maintaining affordable rentals, sometimes building
more expensive townhouses and condos, and sometimes even acquiring property without
developing it, apparently hoping to speculate on future profits. Such development could
prove a boon to the area, greatly enhancing services, assets, and opportunities, but rising
housing prices and displacement could potentially force many lower-income residents
from their homes if provisions are not made to maintain affordable housing.

                     Description of our Partner, Faithworks, Inc.
       Faithworks, Inc., is a non-profit organization established in 2001 as a 501(c)(3)
tax-exempt foundation by CEO Robert Boulter, who has previous experience in
community development in neighborhoods like Columbia Heights through Jubilee
Enterprises of Greater Washington.        Under Mr. Boulter, Financial Administrator
Heather McGowan, Community Development Consultant JoAnn Kane and other leaders,
Faithworks works with FBO’s in lower-income communities in the Washington area to
develop affordable housing and other vital assets. It does this through a number of
means, such as providing technical assistance in crafting feasible development plans,
building coalitions among the FBO’s and negotiating with such other parties as the
District government, and soliciting startup financial backing to fund planning and
leverage larger funds from other sources. The Faithworks office is located in Columbia
Heights at Casa del Pueblo, near other non-profits like the Urban League and the Central
American Resource Center (CARECEN).


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Description of Some Stakeholders in the Redevelopment of Anacostia
       The primary stakeholders with which Faithworks will be working in developing
affordable housing in Anacostia are of course the residents of Anacostia themselves,
particularly the pastors and members of churches and other FBO’s that will form
Faithworks’ main partners. There are at least 62 different churches and FBO’s in the
Anacostia neighborhood, and these range in size, affluence, and influence from
“storefront” churches like Bethuel Temple on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue to major
institutions and community anchors like Union Temple Baptist or Matthew Memorial
that may own numerous surrounding properties as well as the large main buildings and
parking lots of the churches themselves.        Collectively, these churches hold some
2,239,530 square feet of property worth $52,547,240. Besides this, in their relations with
local businesses as well as involvement in organizations like the East of the River Clergy-
Police-Community Partnership, they form a strong presence in Anacostia, and as such
should prove valuable partners in developing affordable housing.
       At the same time, there may be some challenges in working with local FBO’s.
One is simply the fact that they may lack some of the technical knowledge and
connections with outside parties, let alone financial resources, to fully undertake
community development on their own. As such, Faithworks will provide some of these
resources and even help local FBO’s to develop their own capacities in these areas, and
the very research project undertaken by Georgetown University should provide a great
deal of information regarding what resources, opportunities, and conditions are present
for a faith-based development effort in Anacostia.
       At another level, however, there may be some political problems which could
prove more difficult to overcome: residents and FBO’s in Anacostia have witnessed
many broken promises of “redevelopment” or even suffered from plans imposed from the
outside, and may be very suspicious or distrustful towards “outsiders” like Faithworks
and Georgetown University. Conflicting agendas between pastors has already stymied
certain development efforts in the past, as with opposition by Reverend James Coates of
Bethlehem Baptist Church to a Toyota job-training center on the site of the demolished
Sheridan Terrace estate, formerly one of Anacostia’s largest public housing projects with
193 units9.   The pastors of some larger, more powerful and wealthy congregations may



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even favor personal or at least congregational ambitions for power and prosperity over
the community’s needs for affordable housing, seeking to use their extensive properties
and influence to promote ends that may conflict with community development for lower-
income residents.
       Another major set of stakeholders in Anacostia comprises private developers.
With the Office of Planning having launched its Anacostia Waterfront Initiative and
major developments like the new baseball stadium underway west of the Anacostia,
firms like Douglas Jemal’s Douglas Development, William C. Smith, and even such
major national institutions as Bank of American or Sun Trust Bank have begun to enter
the local real estate market, acquiring properties in hopes of future development.
Many have already begun refurbishing properties or building typically upscale
condominiums, restaurants, and stores, and some have even made a commitment to
preserving options for affordable rentals.       Others, however, have not yet begun
developing the land they have acquired, perhaps waiting for optimal conditions or even
speculating on future profits, effectively removing property from current use while
contributing to rising land values.      Private developers are an inevitable and even
necessary component of redevelopment in Anacostia, and some could prove useful
partners in attempts to maintain affordable housing; however, their priorities are in profits
rather than meeting community needs per se, so that they may unwittingly hinder
affordable housing by encouraging price increases or displacement, or even deliberately
obstruct more community-centered models of development if these potentially undercut
their commercial agenda.
       Non-profit organizations of various kinds are potential stakeholders in affordable
housing development in Anacostia. Larger organizations like the Public Welfare Agenda
or Washington Interfaith Network might provide funding, technical assistance, and
political support for this kind of development; smaller groups like the East of the River
Clergy-Police-Community Partnership would likely be involved in more grass-roots
politics and decision-making; and some, like the Anacostia Development Corporation,
or Faithworks’ current partner, the Salvation Army, are already directly involved in
developing affordable housing and other community assets themselves. Many of these
organizations could likely provide considerable assistance and resources as partners,



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and as non-profits would likely have interests close to those of Faithworks and its
congregational partners in affordable housing development. Some, however, may have
different interests or seek to pursue them according to a different plan, so that conflicts
could arise between any Faithworks-led coalition and differently-minded non-profits.
       The District government itself and its agencies are significant stakeholders in
redeveloping Anacostia. As mentioned, the Office of Planning has already begun the
process of selecting sites and creating plans to redevelop the area, and has expressed
some interest in maintaining affordable housing. At the same time, however, its agenda
may focus more on “trickle-down” priorities, such as encouraging more upscale
commercial and residential development to boost tax revenues and cater to the 100,000
new middle-class taxpayers Mayor Williams hopes to bring into the city. The Office of
Planning has already demonstrated some gaps in local knowledge, for example
misplacing Bethlehem Baptist Church in one of its planning documents and possessing
no comprehensive listing of Anacostia churches or their properties. The D.C. Housing
Authority, responsible for public housing in the District, may also be interested in
working with Faithworks to develop affordable housing.
       Finally, the Federal government may be a stakeholder in redeveloping Anacostia.
Although it does not itself possess any plans for involvement in the area, the Federal
government does own extensive properties, including the partially vacant, 328-acre
campus of St. Elizabeth’s mental hospital and parklands along the Anacostia river bank,
and as such may have to be consulted in any large developments affecting these areas.
Moreover, the Federal government is involved in development across the Anacostia in
the Southwest Waterfront/Near Southeast area, and thus in the overall Anacostia
Waterfront Initiative, and Congress wields authority over District funds and policies.
Federal policies already significantly affect affordable housing in Anacostia, for example
in HOPE VI and other programs to demolish and/or replace public housing projects with
mixed-income communities, and through current cuts to the housing choice voucher
program that will reduce the availability and effectiveness of vouchers for residents.




                                             6
                                       Methodology
       An Office of Planning map (outlining an area larger than the official
neighborhood cluster of Historic Anacostia and extending between Pennsylvania Avenue,
Fort Stanton Park, Suitland Parkway and the Anacostia River in Ward 8 of D.C.’s
Southeast Quadrant) provided the initial guide to research and the basis for Faithworks’
selection of the target area. The local Office of Planning coordinator, Ms. Karina Ricks,
had identified approximately twenty churches (about 20% of the actual total) on a walk-
through tour, without specific names or other information.
       A comprehensive database of FBO’s and crucial information was then created so
as to provide a list of those whose assets and interests were to be researched. The first
step was a search under Yahoo! Maps of churches in the area, which revealed 52 different
FBO properties. A second search used The Black Church Page to find 31 additional
FBO’s, besides those overlapping results from the Yahoo! search.               (For detailed
methodology procedures, please see Appendix A.)
       A Microsoft Excel worksheet was created using the information collected for the
83 churches identified, with fields for the FBO name, address, phone number, director
and other information relevant to identification and communication. Tax records of
individual churches were then researched on the D.C. Tax and Revenue database and
added to the Excel worksheet.
               A preliminary, drive-through tour of the area was conducted on February
  th
25 following our initial meeting with the Faithworks staff, providing an orientation and
sense of housing and other conditions in the Anacostia community, as well as background
information on community development and local politics from Bob Boulter and Heather
McGowan as our guides. This was followed by a more thorough, walk-through tour to
ascertain qualitative attributes of FBO properties, such as building materials, landscaping,
proximity to community assets, and other features that could not be derived from the tax
database or other secondary means.        Preparation included the creation of a survey
questionnaire with numeric scales for all variables to facilitate data analysis in addition to
space to write detailed summaries. As a guide to FBO locations, a map was created using
the GIS program, based on data from the Excel spreadsheet.




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       The survey tour was conducted on April 2nd; all team members first met to clarify
the survey format, and conducted a test survey of Union Temple Baptist Church to
calibrate and standardize numeric scales and measurements like foot-pacing of street
frontage. Then, participants divided into three groups to survey FBO’s in three separate
areas, with each group including a scribe to write down descriptive details on the survey
sheets; a photographer taking digital photos from multiple angles to provide a permanent
record of property appearance; and a pacer who measured street frontage through pacing.
All the additional information collected was added to the Excel sheet as numeric data and
comments, including that for new FBO’s whose tax and contact information are to be
researched later, while the original photos and survey sheets were saved for the archives.
Heavy rain and an underestimation of distance forced groups to drive rather than walk,
which may have reduced the detail of information collected and in some cases the
measurement of street frontage through pacing.
       Some additional steps in research methodology to be conducted later include
statistical analysis of data to identify relevant trends and relationships in FBO assets;
GIS mapping of FBO’s incorporating relevant information regarding their assets;
the creation of files for individual FBO’s, including data and photos and survey sheets;
the creation of descriptive and analytical profiles of specifically important FBO’s;
and a variety of interviews and other personal encounters with pastors and other
community members to identify further assets, especially intangibles like personal skills,
as well as community interests, ideas, and concerns in affordable housing development.

                                         Analysis
       Altogether, 62 different FBO’s have been identified, collectively possessing
2,239,530 square feet of property worth $52,547,240, not including nine FBO’s and
properties whose tax and property information is unavailable. Due to time constraints,
little statistical analysis or GIS mapping has been conducted; however, significant variety
in conditions is already apparent through preliminary analysis.
       Smaller FBO’s cluster along Martin Luther King, Jr. and Minnesota Avenues and
Good Hope Road at their conjunction near downtown Anacostia; one example is House
DC at 1,522 square feet. Many of these are attached buildings, often converted from
small stores or apartments. Some problems for these FBO’s are proximity to liquor


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stores, abandoned lots or buildings, and traffic; lower structural and aesthetic quality; and
little space for parking or construction.   At the same time, they are often close to schools
and stores and have good street access.            Also, some seemingly smaller, detached
properties further from downtown, such as the Erskine B. Moss townhouse or Avant
Community Development Corporation, actually have considerable areas of surrounding
land suitable for construction, and might themselves house families.
       Large FBO’s tend to be scattered in areas further away from the river and
Anacostia’s commercial center, nestled among semi-suburban garden apartments along
roads like Pennsylvania Avenue; the largest example is Our Lady of Perpetual Hope
Catholic at 596,525 square feet. These often have additional buildings housing services
like drug prevention and education—even a Catholic elementary school at Our Lady—
as well as considerable empty space available for construction, as at Bethlehem Baptist.
There are also often empty lots or buildings nearby that could easily be developed,
especially if already owned by the FBO, as with Pleasant Street houses belonging to
Union Temple Baptist. As many extra buildings and lots are already used for ministries,
however, they may not be available for development; furthermore, with many of these
larger FBO’s being further from commercial roads, they are somewhat isolated and
inconvenient for schools or stores. Finally, their hilly, wooded surroundings may make
development more difficult, though these also add aesthetic value. (For descriptive
statistics of some key indicators of FBO development potential, please see Appendix B.)
       Through this preliminary analysis, we see several features shared by many FBO’s.
Buildings are mostly of decent construction, typically brick or block and in some cases
steel, concrete, even stone. Most are of at least fair if not good or excellent overall
quality, and excepting a few of the largest FBO’s, between one and two stories in height.
They typically enjoy at least some nearby assets, including schools, parks, and road
access, as well as deficits like poor drainage and nearby liquor stores or trashed lots.
Even some of these deficits could potentially be converted into assets, however; for
example, Mr. Boulter described how the Big K liquor store near the Salvation Army’s
anticipated community center is currently a nuisance but could be refurbished into
housing, along with the many nearby properties it owns and indeed the Salvation Army’s
own currently dilapidated building.



                                               9
                                      Conclusions
       The most salient conclusion is simply that there are a very large number of FBO’s
in Anacostia, with a great number of buildings and lots that vary individually in terms of
size and quality but are overall extensive and fairly prime sites for development.
In addition, a number of assets are often located near FBO’s, for example schools, parks,
and even additional lots or buildings that potentially might be developed. While there are
usually deficits as well, such as nearby sources of blight or poor drainage, these can
hopefully be ameliorated with fairly cosmetic repairs and improvements, or even
converted into assets, as when abandoned lots and buildings can themselves be
refurbished for housing.    Also, if the sheer number, size, and values of the FBO
properties are any indication, then these FBO’s probably also have large budgets,
memberships with their own, varied skills and resources, and presence in the community.
As such, FBO’s should have many resources available to develop affordable housing.

                         Recommendations for Further Steps
       The first major step to be completed in the future is the cleaning and completion
of the current Excel worksheet database.        There are a number of discrepancies,
particularly as some FBO’s were listed as such in Yahoo! Maps or other sources,
yet appearing as private residences or stores in the tax records; these must be resolved.
Full contact information, including addresses, phone numbers, pastors and emails,
should be found for all FBO’s to facilitate later outreach. New FBO’s found during the
survey tour, and perhaps by such means as Yellow Pages, should be input, along with
additional properties belonging to existing FBO’s, and the ownership of nearby properties
should be researched. New data should be included, such as distances to the Metro
station via Mapquest or the Metro website.       Alongside this, relevant demographics
(e.g. poverty, housing status, displacement) should be gleaned from the Census,
and finally, all such data along with photos and survey sheets from the tour should be
filed for individual FBO’s, especially those which may be prime sites for development.
       The next major step is analysis of the collected data.       There might first be
descriptive statistics regarding averages and totals of land area, values, improvements,
and assets-to-deficits ratios.   These could be followed with relational statistics,
as between land values and areas (i.e. which areas are already developed) or land values


                                           10
and assets or deficits, and explorations into the concentration and distribution of space,
values, and assets between FBO’s. GIS can then be used to map out the concentration,
distribution, and relations of space, values, and assets, especially in relation to features in
the surrounding community like schools and transportation. (For some initial GIS maps,
please see Appendix C.)
       The third major step is outreach to the community. This will probably begin
through informal discussions between Mr. Boulter and pastors he already knows,
using individual FBO profiles and other concrete information to establish credibility and
pique interest. Similar contacts can be made with potential FBO partners through venues
like the existing breakfast meetings or interfaith organizations in Anacostia. The protocol
for interview surveys can be tested with more familiar pastors prior to widespread
implementation with the full array of pastors and perhaps other community members to
determine not only further assets but also interests, ideas, and concerns in affordable
housing and community development, much as previous surveys of this type have
unexpectedly revealed a community’s concerns to revolve around a lacking laundromat
or stop sign.    Once all this information has been collected and analyzed, a formal
presentation can be given to propose the collaborative project with the pastors,
from which point the project can move to the planning stage with broader participation.
       In this final stage of planning and implementation, a number of potential concerns
and challenges must be addressed to ensure success. As previously mentioned, there may
be a number of political issues with certain pastors and other community members,
such as distrust or even conflicting goals and agendas; these can hopefully be ameliorated
through measures like the presentation of detailed, concrete plans and information,
incorporation of community interests and concerns in the interview surveys,
and a participatory, democratic approach to planning and implementation, although some
in the community may remained opposed to the Faithworks project.
        Relations with other entities and organizations should also be considered; the
plans and involvement of developers and the Office of Planning should be thoroughly
examined, as well as previous contacts between these parties and the FBO’s. The District
government, developers, and foundations like the Public Welfare Agenda, along with
local businesses, street associations, and other groups, should be consulted and



                                              11
researched as to their interests and involvement in Anacostia, ideally leading to mutual
cooperation and support (e.g. financial and technical assistance from major institutions,
input from smaller organizations), or at the very least amiable discussion and avoidance
of conflict should any particular organization not be interested in partnership with the
Faithworks-led coalition. Finally and most importantly, relations must be as democratic,
participatory, and respectful between all parties and at all levels, including not only
organizations and their leaders such as FBO pastors, but also the individual community
members whom affordable housing development is ultimately intended to benefit.




                                             Bibliography

1
    “Cluster 28: Ward 8/Historic Anacostia”. www.NeighborhoodInfoDC.org. February 7, 2005.
2
    “Cluster 28: Ward 8/Historic Anacostia”. www.NeighborhoodInfoDC.org. February 7, 2005.
3
    “Cluster 28: Ward 8/Historic Anacostia”. www.NeighborhoodInfoDC.org. February 7, 2005.
4
    Housing in the Nation’s Capital: 2003. Washington, D.C: Fannie Mae Foundation & Urban Institute, 42.
5
    Housing in the Nation’s Capital: 2003. Washington, D.C: Fannie Mae Foundation & Urban Institute, 48.
6
    Estimated Voucher Funding Shortfalls in 2005, 2006, and 2010. Washington, D.C:
    Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. February 17, 2005.
7
    Housing in the Nation’s Capital: 2004. Washington, D.C: Fannie Mae Foundation & Urban Institute, 43.
8
    Housing in the Nation’s Capital: 2004. Washington, D.C: Fannie Mae Foundation & Urban Institute, 43.
9
    Gilbert, Beth. “Suitland Parkway Eyesore to Tumble”. Washington Business Journal. October 11, 1996.




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