For the first half of the 20th century the site formerly known as Temperance Alley contained 23 dwellings for working class African American families. Though the housing was affordable, it was also substandard—it is said that residents often slept on the roof to avoid the rats. As a result of these conditions, the site was cleared in 1953 and no replacement housing was built.
A campaign for new, permanently affordable housing on Temperance Alley began in 2001. After a lengthy community process, the Public Welfare Foundation donated the land to the ONE DC along with a large capital contribution of $300,000 to build 10 units of permanently affordable housing on the site, to be called Temperance Row.
However, despite the fact that ONE DC received support from all relevant DC agencies and ANCs and the approval of alley housing in other parts of the city, the Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) rejected the plan to build Temperance Row. For four years ONE DC organized public demonstrations in support of the project. ONE DC also hosted a variety of “interim uses” on the site including the Temperance Row Farmer’s and Artist’s market to bring healthy fruit and vegetables to local residents.