Striving for Affordable Housing
WIN has been organizing on the issue of affordable housing since its founding in the mid-1990’s. When Rufaro Jenkins, a leader at Brighter Day UMC & former tenant of Parkway Overlook Apartments asked, “Raise your hand if you or someone you know is struggling to find affordable housing in DC”, at an action, every hand in the building rose.
In our fight for affordable housing we have three main goals:
Goal 1: Completing 1,000+ units of affordable housing in the WIN pipeline
WIN is focused on completing the development and preservation of over 1,000+ units of affordable housing in the WIN pipeline. UrbanMatters Development Partners LLC (“UrbanMatters”), WIN’s affiliated affordable housing developer, will produce a significant number of these units. Our organizing of tenant and community leaders to politically support affordable housing development and preservation will help create others.
Eastbrooke Apartments | COMPLETED!
On September 25th, 2015, UrbanMatters and WIN held a packed-out ceremony to celebrate the opening of 39 affordable apartments homes called the Eastbrooke at Beulah Crossing! Where a blighted lot was an eyesore in the Deanwood Heights community for decades, there are now beautiful 1, 2 and 3 bedroom affordable apartment homes with modern kitchens, a community room with free wi-fi , and a library, gym and business center for resident use. The project was financed with Low Income Housing Tax Credits, tax exempt bonds, private financing, and a District affordable housing investment.
Emory Beacon Center
A mixed-use development project of the Emory Beacon of Light in the Brightwood neighborhood with 99 units of affordable housing units (91 for families and 8 for permanent supportive housing). WIN organized to support the project at the Historic Preservation Review Board after the site was declared historic. The project was ultimately approved and expected to have a 2016 groundbreaking.
Covenant Full Potential Center
UrbanMatters and WIN-member Covenant Baptist UCC are driving the development of 30 units of senior housing and community space in Ward 8. They are currently applying for funding from the Housing Production Trust Fund, a funding source that WIN organized around the 2014 Mayor’s race.
WIN has been organizing to preserve 200+ units of low income housing at Parkway Overlook in Ward 8 located across the street from WIN-member Brighter Day Ministries’ A.P. Shaw Campus. WIN is working with former tenants to ensure that resident ideas are incorporated into the site plan, the project is funded, and renovations will begin in 2016/2017.
Wards 1 & 4
Leaders from All Souls Church Unitarian, St. Augustine Catholic Church, St. Stephen Episcopal Church, and Sacred Heart Catholic Church began building relationships across race and class with tenants from 9 apartment buildings. Their purpose is to press for the preservation and construction of affordable housing in their area. Their group gathering in July had 88 congregation members and tenants.
Brightwood Project | RENOVATION & CONSTRUCTION HAS BEGUN!
WIN and UrbanMatters celebrated the groundbreaking in April 2015 of the Brightwood Portfolio, a $32.2M development of 140 affordable apartments comprised of the Concord, Valencia and Vizcaya Apartment buildings. The Brightwood Tenants’ Association had exercised their TOPA rights to prevent the sale of these affordable housing apartments and chose UrbanMatters as its partner to become the redeveloper and owner of their buildings. Substantial rehabilitation is now underway on the existing 130 apartments. The plan includes an additional 10 units in the basements, as well as a new community room, computer room, and exercise room. There will be new and on-site supportive services, including after school tutoring, financial literacy courses, and health and wellness training. The units are off 14th Street NW on a major bus line.
North Capitol Commons | CONSTRUCTION HAS BEGUN!
WIN participated at the groundbreaking for North Capitol Commons (N. Capitol and K Street NW). This new complex is a 124 unit development: 60 units to house homeless veterans and 64 units affordable at 60% AMI. WIN organized for the dedication of the land to permanent supportive housing, defended the federal allocation for capital funds, and supported the nal land disposition.
UrbanMatters has worked with apartment residents to complete a TOPA tenant purchase of their building to preserve 55 units of affordable housing right off Georgia Avenue. The project is now at the financing stage.
With Phase I (29 units) nearly complete, phase 2 of this development on Eastern Ave & Dix St NE will provide 34 new construction affordable homeownership units for working families within walking distance of the Capitol Heights Metro station.
…and more to come
Goal 2: Expanding Funding for Affordable Housing
WIN organized to make affordable housing an important issue in the 2014 Mayoral election. At our January 900-person action WIN asked Mayor Bowser to ensure a minimum of $100 Million was allocated to the Housing Production Trust Fund in her rst budget. Then at the follow-up WIN public action in November, Mayor Bowser committed to funding the Housing Production Trust Fund at a minimum of $100 Million each year of her administration.
Goal 3: Demanding Public Land for Affordable Housing
WIN is also pressing for the dedication of public land to affordable housing. WIN began organizing a team from Holy Redeemer Catholic Church to begin supporting public land for affordable housing in Ward 6.
“We’re ecstatic about the unanimous vote today [to close DC General], but we need to preserve all the affordable housing that exists in D.C. today and expand the availability of affordable housing to support our thousands of families in need.”
Making Homelessness a Top Issue
WIN made homelessness a top issue in the 2014 Mayoral election and held a 900-person action with the new Mayor in the same week as her inauguration. WIN demanded that in the first 100 days of the administration Mayor Bowser appoint a new top team around homelessness. WIN’s organizing, as well as that of other DC community organizations, helped ensure Mayor Bowser’s first budget included $40 million to open short-term family housing to replace DC General Family Shelter and a 35% increase in funding for homelessness services.
WIN believes in the Iron Rule -never do for others what that can do for themselves. So in addition to supporting a playground, laundry room and teen center which were built at DC General, WIN has focused on developing leaders among the shelter residents. Two Shelter residents attended our 3-day training on leadership and grassroots organizing in November. The team then led an action demanding more efficient housing programs, inspections, increased control over food, and greater resident power with the shelter.
At WIN’s November 2015 action, the Mayor before a 500-person packed crowd, committed to fully fund in every year of her administration Homeward DC, the District’s plan to end all homelessness by 2020.
WIN’s youth homelessness work in coordination with the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates and WIN-member, Sasha Bruce and LAYC, paid off this year with the implementation of the Ending Youth Homelessness Act and the allocation of $500,000 in the budget to operate youth drop-in centers. The Washington Post highlighted the two youth drop-in centers that will be opened, including one at WIN-member organization Sasha Bruce. Also, as part of the District’s commitment in this area, DC held its first Homeless Youth Census. The census counted 330 homeless youths who were on the streets, in a housing program, or otherwise without a permanent home.