There seems to be a church on Rhode Island Ave NE that also operates a halfway house. It is unconfirmed whether the halfway house is legally operating or if the church decided to just start doing it (many residents nearby have claimed to look into it and said that it is operating illegally….in addition, the church is also operating illegally in the building).
Now, we all know that Rhode Island Avenue NE has its MORE THAN FAIR share of church store fronts and how this will hinder future development (more on this soon) but it seems that the halfway house being part of this particular church has already made a splash with local residents and a nearby women shelter (I choose not to display the name of the church so as to protect the location of the women shelter). Apparently on Dec 2nd, a man from the halfway house entered the women shelter from the rear entrance and had to be confronted by a couple of employees and escorted off of the property.
This incident was the exact type of incident that the women shelter’s Executive Director (and many nearby residents) raised when they made their concerns known to Councilman Harry Thomas Jr’s office months ago when the church began operating the halfway house. Nothing was done in the past.
We hope that Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr and many other civic leaders stand up for good establishments along RIA. The abundance of store front churches is a problem for the redevelopment of RIA, especially when the store front churches are operating without a proper license from the DC government. In addition to these store front churches, the addition of halfway houses along RIA is improper for redevelopment as well. These are commercial properties not homes. There is a possibility of having halfway housing above street level retail but I wouldn’t encourage that either.
My question is this: When is Harry Thomas Jr going to get serious about redeveloping Rhode Island Ave NE and ensuring that our area is safe, clean, and given the amenities that other Wards and areas of the city have? I am not against churches but storefront churches operating as they see fit and over inundating our community is getting out of hand (especially since these store front churches cater to out of city residents).
Here are some pictures of some of the churches along RIA (note: not all are store front churches…some have been operating well for some time):