February 2018 DHCD Connection Newsletter

Department of Housing and Community Development Connection

Letter from the DHCD Director

polly D

Greetings Washingtonians, 

The District recently lost a strong affordable housing advocate, Oramenta Newsome, who passed away February 1 after a brief illness.

Oramenta was the vice president for the DC and Virginia programs of Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC), where under her leadership, LISC DC invested nearly $285 million in affordable housing, economic development and jobs across the District.

I had the pleasure of knowing Oramenta before I became DHCD Director, while I was in charge of a homeless services non-profit. Oramenta’s guidance helped me to pivot and do more by becoming a new developer of affordable housing. What I most admired about Oramenta was that she clearly understood the financial risk involved in non-profit affordable housing development and yet was able to provide key, catalytic support and resources. Oramenta did the risk calculus and was always there to measure the reward for the community.  

newsome and polly

As DHCD Director, I came to know another Oramenta, full of sage advice and counsel as a key member of the Housing Production Trust Fund Advisory Board. As a lender and philanthropist, Oramenta truly understood that the partnership with the District government was essential for affordable housing.

I could say more about this remarkable woman, but a Washington Post obituary and LISC tribute page nicely chronicle the story of a life well lived, in service to her community. I shall miss her.

Polly Donaldson, DHCD Director 

Follow me on Twitter @maryrandolph

Vacant to Vibrant DC


Successful Auction Marks Further Progress with Vacant to Vibrant DC

DHCD continues to make progress to provide more workforce housing in the District with the closing of an auction of 33 properties through the Vacant to Vibrant DC initiative.

The five-day auction by Alex Cooper Auctioneers closed January 23, with all 33 sites—in neighborhoods such as Bellvue (Ward 8), Carver/Langston (Ward 5), Deanwood (Ward 7), and Park View (Ward 1)—receiving bids. The winning bidder will have to create workforce housing under specific criteria and timeframes. Now that the auction has closed, the winning bidders are being notified and administrative steps are being taken to finalize the purchase agreement.

Vacant to Vibrant DC was launched in December 2017 to transform the balance of inventory in DHCD’s Property Acquisition and Disposition Division (PADD) into productive solutions using five action points. There has also been movement on other Vacant to Vibrant DC action points: (1) Phase 1 of the Certified Business Enterprises CBE solicitation is moving forward; an announcement will be made in March, and another solicitation will be released during that timeframe; (2) DC Housing Financing Agency (DCHFA)’s Housing Investment Platform HIP closed its request for qualifications (RFQ) on January 3 and approved six developer partners and DCHFA will select the final partners in February; and (3) this spring, the public can look forward to learning more about the green space expansion with Casey Trees  and the tiny home demonstration project in partnership with the DC Students Construction Trades Foundation.

Housing Spotlight

1164 bladensburg

Two Projects Will Provide Senior Housing, Community Services in Wards 5 and 8

DHCD recently closed two loan agreements totaling more than $17.5 million that will help preserve 159 affordable housing units in Wards 5 and 8, including 65 units for residents age 55 and older. The funding was made available through the HPTF.

DHCD provided $10.8 million in HPTF financing to 1164 Bladensburg, LLC, a joint venture between Neighborhood Development Company (NDC) and Tennyson Ventures, for the construction of a new 65-unit apartment building for residents age 55 and older at 1164 Bladensburg Road NE in the Trinidad/H Street Corridor neighborhood. (See rendering above.) 

Fifty-two affordable units will be available for households at or below $55,150 (50 percent of the Median Family Income [MFI]) and remain affordable for no less than 40 years; 13 units will be available for households at or below $33,090 (30 percent MFI).

DHCD also provided Vesta Maplewood LLC, a joint venture between Vesta Corporation and Hopmeadow Development, Inc., with nearly $6.7 million in HPTF financing for the preservation of 94 affordable housing units at Maplewood Courts, 2306 Hartford Street, SE in the Garfield Heights neighborhood. Ten affordable units will be available for households at or below 30 percent MFI and remain affordable for no less than 40 years; 84 units will be available for households at or below 50 percent MFI.

parkway overlook

District Agencies Announce Progress to Transform Parkway Overlook Community

Several District government agencies closed a financing deal that will preserve 220 affordable housing units in the long vacant Parkway Overlook Apartments in the Ward 8 neighborhood of Congress Heights.

This effort in affordable housing preservation was made possible through the collaboration of the DC Housing Authority (DCHA), DCHFA, the DC Department of the Environment (DOEE) and DHCD, which provided $20.1 million in HPTF financing.

Capitol Housing Partners LLC, a subsidiary entity controlled by DCHA, will use the DHCD and DCHFA funding to acquire and rehabilitate the complex at 2841 Robinson Place SE. The $82.2 million rehabilitation will result in units affordable to households making up to 50 percent MFI. Eleven units will be available for households at or below 30 percent MFI and will be set-aside as permanent supportive housing.

The units will be comprised of 53 one-bedroom, 108 two-bedroom and 59 three-bedroom apartments and therefore will accommodate a variety of family sizes. The project also will provide workforce development training to residents and energy savings through the installation of solar panels, under DOEE’s Solar for All program.

February 2018 Edition

Mark Dates for DC Council Performance Oversight Hearings

It's time for the Performance Oversight Hearings at the DC Councila great way for the public to provide input on agencies, and learn how they are serving District residents. Here are the dates related to DHCD:

  • Rental Housing Commission: March 2, 11 a.m., Room 120, John A. Wilson Building (JAWB), 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • DHCD and the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF) (Public witnesses only): March 6, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., JAWB Room 500
  • DHCD and the HPTF: March 7, JAWB 11 a.m.
  • All hearings will be livestreamed at www.dccouncil.us/videos.

Sign up Now to Attend Mayor Bowser’s Budget Engagement Forums

Join fellow District residents at budget engagement forums to share your values, priorities, and ideas with the Bowser Administration as the FY 2019 budget is developed:

  • Forum #1: February 21, 6:30 p.m., University of the District of Columbia Student Center, 4200 Connecticut Avenue NW
  • Forum #2: February 22, 6:30 p.m., Watkins Elementary School, 420 12th Street SE
  • Forum #3: February 24, 10 a.m., Kramer Middle School, 1700 Q Street SE
  • RSVP for all forums at 2018budgetforums.eventbrite.com or (202) 442-8150.


Over $1.71M in HPAP/EAHP Goes to 29 Households in January

In January, 29 households in the District received more than $1.718 million in down payment and closing cost assistance to become first-time homeowners. Congratulations to our newest Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) and Employer Assisted Housing Program (EAHP) recipients!

Quick Links

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Our Video Story 

Check out our video, which tells a great visual story of how we are helping residents by producing and preserving affordable housing, and revitalizing neighborhoods, in the District.