Talbert Street Residents Update: 11-7-22
A year ago last month, 46 first time homeowners at the Talbert Town Homes, a newly constructed residential neighborhood in Ward 8, were forced to move due to severe and yet unresolvable structural issues in their homes.
Talbert Town Homes was built in 2017 with city funding as part of its efforts to provide affordable housing to low-income, first-time homeowners. The opportunity, once lauded as a dream come true, quickly turned into a nightmare for everyone involved.
The homes were beautifully constructed, and at first glance, resembled nothing different than any other townhome residence in the city. But there was a problem. The townhomes were planned and constructed atop one of the steepest neighborhoods in DC. Almost immediately residents began noticing signs of structural damage within their units and engineers were consulted. Soon, residents were advised to move.
In response, Mayor Bowser created the “Talbert Street Task Force” to support the affected families, most of whom had to evacuate their new homes after receiving an abrupt two-week notice. The task force consists of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), and the DC Department of Human Services (DHS), and a host of other government agencies. The members were tasked with connecting the displaced residents with services designed to help them.
The City provided immediate cash assistance and housing certificates to 44 of the 46 families that could be used to cover rental expenses for up to one year through the Department of Housing and Community Development (DCHD). Recently, the city renewed the housing relocation package assistance for displaced residents.
Resident Karl Morrison said, “This was supposed to be my dream home! I have no clue as to what’s next. If it were up to me, I would tear the place down!
Residents seem aware that something is going to happen but unsure when, how, or who would be affected. Residents say they are waiting for a report to determine if a soil test will determine if anything can be built on that land, and if a retention wall is a possibility.
All 46 displaced Talbert Street residents continue to pay mortgage and condo fees for their homes that they are unable to occupy.. The city pays all expenses associated with resident’s displacement from Talbert Street. Those expenses include but are not limited to moving and storage fees; housing aid funding; utilities & rent; housing aid funding; and tenants with children may also receive childcare subsidies, as well.
“At this point no one can sell,”Morrison added, “It’s more like a numbers game of residents sitting and waiting.”