Tag Archives: self-sufficiency

D.C. Housing Authority: Impacting the quality of lives of the families it serves

With its focus on the future and the ever-changing backdrop of affordable housing in our nation’s capital, the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) has spent much of 2014 and the years before developing and preserving its existing affordable housing stock for the thousands of low-income persons and families in need. DCHA-Lofts at Capitol Quarter - Ribbon Cutting1

In March 2014, DCHA Executive Director Adrianne Todman and local leaders broke ground on the latest addition to the Southeast neighborhood community, the Lofts at Capitol Quarter. When completed, the $42 million L Street building will contain 156 market-rate and 39 affordable rental units. Amenities will include a roof top deck and pool, internal courtyards, an exercise room, and a computer room. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2015. The Lofts at Capitol Quarter are part of DCHA’s Capitol Quarter redevelopment project, one of the nation’s largest Hope VI projects.

“At DCHA we work creatively with other public and private partners to unlock opportunities for our residents so that they can improve their life outcomes,” Todman said. “We are in the final stages of developing the Capitol Quarter neighborhood into a successful mixed-income community that our clients can consider home.”

DCHA-Lofts at Capitol Quarter - Ribbon Cutting2Funding for the Lofts at Capitol Quarter was made possible by combining Low Income Housing Tax Credit subsidies, District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency debt purchased by Citi Community Capital, and a short-term loan made by Industrial Bank.

Helping families to self-sufficiency one step at a time

Homeownership can be an overwhelming process to go through for a first time buyer, particularly when the buyer doesn’t have a thorough knowledge of the process. DCHA saw a need to help support and counsel its residents moving toward homeownership both at the beginning of the process and after to ensure complete success.

By combining the resources of local and federal government, FDIC Insured Banks, HUD community-based homeownership organizations-University Legal Services, prominent title companies-Answer Title, and the DCHA HCV Homeownership Program, DCHA was able to educate its first-time homebuyers in the process in a way that the typical first-time homebuyer would not receive.

DCHA has pledged to continue to develop partnerships with resource centers across the city through its Homeownership Coordinating Committee in order to bring an even greater level of support to future homeowners.

Serving the needs of our seniors

DCHA also opened its first, state-of-the-art, affordable assisted living facility, with the designation of certified Medicaid provider. By creating a model that combined HUD rental subsidies, Medicaid reimbursements, and other revenues, DCHA is able to provide a 24-hour per day community and healthcare outlet for seniors, as well as health-related employment opportunities for other trained DCHA residents.DCHA-Maintaining Housing for Seniors

“It’s clear there is a need for additional affordable housing options in the District of Columbia and I salute DCHA for putting great care in creating this new facility that not only puts a roof over residents’ heads, but provides them with key wrap-around services that will help them to lead healthy and full lives,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “This new facility will serve as a model as we continue to foster a city where all can live and thrive.”

Seniors’ Housing Choice Voucher leases are often terminated because of disputes between landlord and resident, a failure to complete the biennial recertification process, or a resident violation of Housing Quality Standards (HQS). DCHA’s HCVP Mediation Program partners low-income seniors, a majority of whom are low-income ethnic minorities and women, with an Elder Buddy –AARP’s answer to legal counsel for the elderly.

Since 2012, more than 400 of DC’s seniors have received legal counsel through the Elder Buddy program which has resulted in a major decrease in terminations from the HCV Program.

For these reasons and many more, we celebrate DCHA today during Housing America Month for its its undying dedication and commitment to providing safe, quality, and affordable housing for all in  need in our nation’s capital.

Combating Hunger, Creating Opportunity: NAHRO Staff Gives Back

DC Central Kitchen_1 Today, ten of national NAHRO’s staff members gave back to the DC community by volunteering at D.C. Central Kitchen, a local nonprofit located near the Capitol known for reducing hunger with recycled food, training unemployed adults for culinary careers, serving healthy school meals, and rebuilding urban food systems through social enterprise. From 9 a.m.-12 p.m., our staff worked alongside D.C. Central Kitchen staff, volunteers and culinary school students preparing enough food for more than 4,000 of tomorrow’s meals for city’s homeless and low-income populations.

“This was my first time volunteering at the D.C. Central Kitchen,” said Tamarha Walker, regional service officer for the NAHRO Middle Atlantic Regional Council (MARC). “I came away with not only improved culinary skills, but with also a renewed reality check that there are still thousands of families and single persons without access to healthy food options.”

While a main focus of D.C. Central Kitchen is to feed hungry and at-risk neighbors daily, they are also committed to eliminating food waste among local restaurants, universities and corporate partners; providing fresh produce options in food deserts throughout the metro region; and training hardworking, low-income persons to become self-sufficient through culinary art. In 2013 alone, D.C. Central Kitchen estimates that they recovered 737,564 pounds of food for their meals and saved $155,573 in food costs by securing donated produce. Through its Healthy Corners program, D.C. Central Kitchen sold over 7,500 healthy snacks, including fresh produce, per month to corner stores serving lower-income residents with limited access to grocery stores. Since 2008, 339 graduates of D.C. Central Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training program have achieved a job placement rate of 90 percent and a job retention rate of 85 percent.

Each fall, in preparation for Housing America Month, we ask our members to consider hosting an event showcasing the positive impacts of affordable housing in their communities. Historically, we have participated in a local Habitat for Humanity build, but this year, we wanted to stress the importance of cross-industry collaboration and the positive impacts which can occur when addressing the needs of the whole person.

DC Central Kitchen_2

“Barriers to food accessibility is a real issue which many of our members’ clients and residents face every day,” said John Bohm, director of Congressional Relations, Public Affairs and Field Operations for NAHRO. “Partnering with other nonprofits and for profits to address issues like access to healthy food options and transportation is critical to addressing the root causes of poverty and helping a person to reach self-sufficiency.”