Hey, y'all it’s been a while. I wanted to send an update that I’m moved back to D.C. and very much enjoying my new apartment perched above the Metropolitan Branch Trail
. All the furniture is built, but I still haven’t figured out how to organize my stuff in the kitchen cabinets.
I’m working from the office at Street Sense
, where we published an amazing report about Afghan refugees resettling to the D.C. area in both English and Dari
. (It’s still only in print form because our volunteers add stories to the website. Here is a similar version at DC Line
It turns out that the biggest refugee issue, once they get to America, is the high housing costs. Nonprofits and community orgs can’t really help when our new neighbors burn through almost all of their resettlement money with the first month’s rent and security deposit.
The story of the moment IMO is how one-off events like COVID or the Afghanistan withdrawal/airlift prove nasty because they run into systemic problems we haven’t fixed for years and decades. COVID is crushing the “low-skill” labor markets like childcare because they mostly do involve humans with lots of skills that we should actually pay living wages for. We should have housing that is affordable enough that you don’t blow a month of wages at a new job when you move-in.
My biggest observation about D.C. life is how insanely abandoned the downtown office core still sits. I work at 1317 G NW — right by the White House and K Street — but I see almost no fellow office workers on the Metro during rush and certainly not on the roads when I’m commuting on a bike or electric skateboard. I don’t know if suburban office parks are experiencing the same lag, but there must be massive numbers of white-collar workers still working from home even as their kids go back to in-person school. Single-use commercial office districts seem pretty screwed…