With HOPE VI funding, both developments were demolished and redeveloped as a public-private mixed-income project. HOPE VI funding requires the DC Housing Authority to replace each unit of public housing, all 707 units, and thus not eliminate public housing from the site. The new development has many new townhouses. When completed, there will be 323 units. Using the developer's site plan, we see many townhouses starting at $662,000 or more, workforce townhouses with subsidized mortgages for those making $82,800-119,025, and affordable apartments (I was told by the developer that these were for those making around $50,000-60,000).
From the very helpful DCHA, I found out that 339 "public housing" units have been recreated on the Capper-Carrollsburg site, leaving 368 to be constructed. So, who lives in the 339 units? Those allowed in the units have to make a certain percentage of Area Median Income (AMI), which is $103,500 in DC. HUD considers those with up to 80% AMI ($82,000) to be low-income (though DC has tended to stick closer to the 60% threshold).
- 162 seniors, in the senior building, who can make 0-60% AMI.
- 138 individuals/families with a working head of household, in 400 M St., who make 40-60% AMI ($41,400-62,100).
- 39 individuals or families, in Capitol Quarter, who make 0-30% AMI.
- Total: 339 units.
There are very few units for those who make less than $41,000. From the incredibly informative Housing Policy in the United States 2010 textbook, we know that the average nationwide income for those working as elementary school teachers ($49,781), LPN nurses ($38,941), security guards ($29,401), and cashiers ($19,757) would not allow them to buy a house here or elsewhere. Also, we know that the average hourly wage for those working as LPN nurses ($15.72), security guards ($14.13), janitors ($11.57), and cashiers ($9.50) would not allow them to rent an average 2-bedroom apartment here or elsewhere.
The "low-income" category has been defined upward. It is true that the middle-class is being priced out of DC. At the same time, the poor, including the working poor, have been pushed out of such places as Capper-Carrollsburg. Rather than setting up a choice between helping either those making $50,000 or those making $20,000, we should think about how we as taxpayers are helping those who can afford $800,000 townhouses.