HUD turns down District’s $30 million request for public housing upgrades


Kenilworth Courts, in Northeast D.C. (Washington Post/Ricky Carioti)

Two public housing complexes in Northeast D.C., have been passed over for $30 million in redevelopment funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a setback to the city’s plans to stabilize and revitalize the area.

The D.C. Housing Authority applied for $29.7 million in federal funds under the Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant initiative to redevelop Kenilworth Courts and Parkside Addition, two complexes in Northeast D.C. that struggle with high rates of poverty and violence.

But the housing authority, which manages public housing in the District, was informed recently by HUD that Kenilworth-Parkside was not named among the finalists and would not receive funds this round.

Adrianne Todman, executive director of the housing authority, issued a statement through a spokeswoman saying she was “very disappointed.”

“We needed this grant to begin building affordable housing and providing amenities for residents that would help them achieve their goals of self-sufficiency,” Todman said. “This $29.7 million grant would just be the start of a $317.5 million redevelopment project at Kenilworth Courts and represents a small piece of the total $1.3 billion capital needs of the D.C. Housing Authority. But the door is not shut. We will sit down with HUD and evaluate our next steps.”

The Choice initiative aims to upgrade distressed public housing, improve educational outcomes and create safe, secure neighborhoods in their place. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), U.S. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) and other officials celebrated in 2012 when HUD awarded the housing authority a $300,000 Choice planning grant, one of 13 neighborhoods in the country to receive funds.

District leaders had hoped money to implement their Choice plans would bookend a $25 million U.S. Department of Education grant under its Promise Neighborhood program to schools in the Kenilworth-Parkside neighborhood, including Neval Thomas Elementary, Kenilworth Elementary and two Cesar Chavez public charter schools. That grant is being managed by the D.C. Promise Neighborhood Initiative.

This isn’t the first time HUD has denied the housing authority the much larger amount of money requested to put its Choice plan into action. In 2012 Kenilworth-Parkside was named one of nine HUD finalists out of 42 applicants but also was not funded.

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read
Next Story
Sarah Halzack · March 16