D.C. City Administrator John "Jack" Bond III said yesterday that he will review a Department of Human Services proposal to open a shelter for the homeless across the street from an elementary school and a preschool near Tenley Circle in upper Northwest.
Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon asked Bond to evaluate the plan Thursday after neighborhood residents objected to the city's plan to provide overnight accommodations for 50 men on a residential block with two schools.
The proposed site is a former police station at 42nd and Albermarle streets NW, a block from Wisconsin Avenue, across from Janney Elementary School. It would be the first homeless shelter in Ward 3, which lies west of Rock Creek Park and north of Georgetown.
Bond said he plans to visit schools in the area and meet with neighborhood residents next week before making his recommendation to the mayor.
Under a 1988 consent decree against the city, the Human Services Department is required to add 50 beds for homeless men in an area that includes parts of Wards 3 and 2.
The department originally was required to find a site by last September, but the deadline has been extended to March 1. The city could be fined more than $5,000 a day for not complying with the decree, a Bond spokeswoman said.
"Mayor Dixon has pledged to be responsive to all the citizens of our great city," Bond said in a statement. "At the same time, the city has a legal obligation to open a shelter in areas designated by the court."
D.C. Council member Jim Nathanson (D-Ward 3), who had criticized the site choice, called Bond and Dixon's involvement "a good sign that they understand the problem."
Nathanson said his office has been working to find alternative sites in Ward 3. "We understand the need and are trying to meet the need in a way that best fits."
Nathanson also said that human services officials should meet with members of a community before deciding on a site.
Ward 3 residents expressed similar concerns in November when the city tried to place 100 homeless people in six trailers on private land in the 2800 block of Wisconsin Avenue NW. The city abandoned that plan when it realized the land would have to be rezoned.
The search for a site in the area has dragged on for more than a year. Human services officials said they were trying to find a site in Ward 3 because Ward 2 already has six shelter sites -- one for women, four for men and one serving both.