The Channing E. Phillips Homes, located in the 1700 block of 7th street NW, is a subsidized apartment complex located near the Shaw-Howard Metro station. Named after the late congressional candidate and civil rights leader Channing E. Phillips, the housing complex sponsored by the “Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ” is eight stories high and has over 100 affordable housing units. According to Chris Douthat author of the Patch article “Federal and Local Officials Celebrate Construction Kickoff For Channing E. Phillips Homes At Shaw/Howard University Metro”, discusses the impact of Channing E. Phillips Homes for lower income residents. Through Douthat’s extensive history background on the sponsors for the subsidized housing complexes and collected statements from D.C. officials, he tries to argue that Channing E. Phillips will improve the community. Ultimately, Douthat believes having the Channing E. Phillips Homes in place is beneficial for 7th street and is much needed for the community.
The Channing E. Phillips Homes, was recently added to the Shaw-Howard Community last fall. The apartments are available to those who make about 60 percent of the area median income, which is about $65,000 for a family of four. The Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ and Lincoln Congregational UCC, church organizations, both collaborated to renovate the establishment. The 1700 block of 7th street NW was formerly known for holding some the highest Shaw-Howard crime rates and was home of the formerly known “John’s Place”, my primary focus during my trip to Shaw-Howard. “John’s Place” was a nightclub located in the 1700 block of 7th street NW and was shut down almost a decade ago due to a shooting within the club. The specific location of this former club is unknown, however significant changes were made within the neighborhood it formerly resided in. Newer facilities such as the local convenience store Elbo Market, Channing E. Phillips Homes, non-subsidized apartment complexes, and the Watha T. Daniel library were added to the neighborhood within the last decade. Ultimately, these new facilities became noteworthy aspects of the community and have altered the appearance of 7th street.
Douthat’s article also discusses how the Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ and Lincoln Congregational Temple UCC sponsors have had a previous history dating back to the 1960s of improving local communities through affordable housing. Douthat states, “The development of this much needed housing is only possible due to the unique four-decade interracial partnership of two D.C.-area United Church of Christ (UCC) churches: Westmoreland Congregational UCC and Lincoln Congregational Temple UCC. The two churches became housing development partners to invest in the Shaw neighborhood in the late sixties when few others would. Their successful development of affordable housing dates back to 1969, when they broke ground on the Lincoln Westmoreland Apartments, a 108-unit, 10-story affordable apartment building now located next door to Channing E. Phillips Homes. The building is currently undergoing a renovation scheduled for completion later this year. Lincoln Westmoreland Housing subsequently provided land for the Shaw-Howard University Metro station infrastructure, which has improved access and economic opportunity for neighborhood residents” (Douthat, Chris). Douthat uses the extensive history presented to assure his confidence in the success of the Channing E. Phillips Homes.
Even though Douthat uses extensive history to confirm his beliefs of how helpful the Channing E. Phillips Homes will be/is, he uses statements from councilmen and representatives of Washington D.C. to confirm his idea. Polly Donaldson a DHCD Director Douthat mentions within this article states, “Creating pathways to the middle class includes developing inclusive and diverse communities. To do this we must produce, protect and preserve more affordable housing for residents at all income levels. The Shaw neighborhood is rich in culture, so being able to revitalize these properties will not only allow the city to preserve the existing 108 affordable units and build 56 new affordable units for DC residents, but make it possible for the neighborhood to maintain its history and character. Projects like these are an example of the positive impact the Mayor’s $100M commitment to affordable housing can have on the city, once those dollars are invested” (Douthat, Chris).
Also, Marvin Turner director of HUD’s area field office stated in Douthat’s article “A project such as this is only possible when all of the pieces of the puzzle come together: location, vision, people of good will, financial commitments, great design and stellar execution,” observed Lincoln Westmoreland Housing President David Jacobs. “It’s gratifying that after all of the years of groundwork, these badly needed homes will soon be available to our neighbors who need them,” he added.
“This is a wonderful story of a faith-based initiative leveraging a government investment with private sector funds to produce transit-oriented affordable development” (Douthat, Chris).
Douthat, Chris. “Federal And Local Officials Celebrate Construction Kickoff For Channing E. Phillips Homes At Shaw/Howard University Metro”. Georgetown, DC Patch, 2017, http://patch.com/district-columbia/georgetown/federal-and-local-officials-celebrate-construction-kickoff-channing-e-phillips-homes-shawhoward.