The D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development next week will consider possible uses for the Carberry School at Fifth and D streets NE, a 73-year-old building closed five years ago by the city school system.
One plan, proposed by a nonprofit group called Independent Living for the Handicapped, would turn the school into 12 barrier-free apartments for physically handicapped adults. Several groups have expressed interest in the building, but the Independent Living group has submitted the only concrete proposal, said housing official Paul Bhasin.
The housing department has scheduled a meeting for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Douglas Memorial Methodist Church, 11th and H streets NE, to solicit community views on possible uses for the school.
Bhasin said Carberry is one of three surplus schools that the housing department is considering for conversion to housing. The other schools are Gage in Northeast and Shaw Junior High School in Northwest.
Bhasin said that housing officials, in consultation with the mayor and City Council, would have to decide whether the Carberry building may be leased, sold or given to a group such as Independent Living for the Handicapped.
The group recently received a $500,000 low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to acquire a building and adapt it to the needs of severely handicapped people, said Beverly Price, who founded the organization four years ago. The group has renovated a house in American University Park in which three handicapped people and one aide now live. The Carberry facility would house 12 handicapped residents and two aides, Price said.
"This building would be beautiful for barrier-free living," said Price, who has a handicapped 28-year-old son. She said that architect Paul Debrouax, who renovated the group's other home, proposed that the Carberry building include a kitchen, dining room and recreation room on the basement level and two-bedroom, one-bedroom and efficiency apartments above. The building would be equipped with an elevator, ramps, wide doors, special bathroom fixtures and other features needed by people who use wheelchairs.
"We get a lot of calls from congressmen and senators who say they have a handicapped constituent or a potential employe waiting to accept a job in Washington who needs a place to live," Price said. "We select the residents on basis of extreme need."
If the group's proposal is accepted by the housing department, handicapped residents in the Carberry facility who work will contribute a portion of their incomes toward the upkeep of the house and the salary of the aides, Price said. Those residents eligible for subsidized housing will use their subsidy payments to repay the 40-year loan from HUD.
Officers of the Stanton Park Neighborhood Association and Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6A have expressed interest in the proposal, but said they want to examine all other possibilities before endorsing any plan.