The Washington Post

A neighborhood’s troubled history

Temple Courts timeline

1968 A group of religious organizations opens the Sursum Corda Cooperative, south of M Street NW, to offer low-cost homeownership.

1973 Temple Courts opens as a housing project at 33 K St. Other low-income homes follow, creating a pocket of poverty just blocks from Capitol.

February 1998 The city posts $185 million dollar surplus as the development boom in the District begins.

January 2004 Jahkema “Princess” Hansen, 14, is killed after witnessing a homicide at Temple Courts. D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams pledges to reduce crime in the neighborhood.

January 2005 The city and local leaders begin a year-long process to craft the New Communities plan, which promised 180 replacement units for Temple Courts by 2013.

An aerial view of the Temple Courts block.;

March 2007 At a meeting with Temple Courts residents, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty asks them to choose whether to stay in the decrepit building or be relocated as the city completes the initiative. Residents, though skeptical, opt to move.

December 2007 The Fenty administration offers the right to develop to One Vision Development Group, which had proposed a $700 million plan — most of it private money. The group discovers undisclosed restrictions on development of the Temple Courts property. The city vows to fix the problem but never does.

December 2008 Temple Courts is demolished.

December 2011 Families begin to move into the SeVerna, a 60-unit building that replaced a nearby housing project, the Golden Rule, that was also demolished. Nine former Temple Courts families are allowed to move in.

February Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) holds committee meeting on New Communities; the city’s housing agency director acknowledges progress hasn’t been “meaningful.”

March The headquarters for National Public Radio moves across the street from the Temple Courts site, now a parking lot.

Thirteen people are shot in front of nearby Tyler House, returning attention to the area.

April No replacement units for Temple Courts have been completed. After eight years, the city hires a director to oversee the program.

Robert Samuels is a national political reporter who focuses on the intersection of politics, policy and people. He previously covered social issues in the District of Columbia.

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