The D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development has expanded its community development area in far Northeast Washington to include the Deanwood and Burrville neighborhoods, making residents of those communities eligible for special low-interest loans to repair their homes.
Loan funds will be targeted primarily to families earning less than $18,000 a year, according to D.C. Housing Director Robert L. Moore. Moore spoke before a group of about 125 persons last week at Burrville Elementary School to answer questions about the new loan program. The meeting was the second in a series sponsored by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 7C.
Deanwood and Burrville residents can apply for a variety of funds. Some loans must be repaid only when the house is sold or transferred, while others will be repaid at interest rates varying from 1 percent up to 9 percent, depending on family income. Some refinancing funds also may be available, as well as money for site improvements in the neighborhoods.
Approximate boundaries of the expanded community development area are Minnesota, Eastern and Division avenues, 58th and Eads streets, and the B&O Railroad tracks.
Willis P. Greene, chairperson of ANC 7C, noted that many homes in Deanwood and Burrville are "weather-worn and weather-beaten," and will need such repairs as new roofs, gutters, downspouts and window sashes. "It's a rather old settlement out there," Green said of the neighborhoods. "They are mostly detached, frame houses, most of them owner-occupied, and they're suffering from deferred maintenance because their owners are elderly on fixed incomes."
Sections of the city such as Shaw and the 14th Street NW and H Street NE areas have been community development and urban renewal neighborhoods for years. Residents there, with a wide mix of incomes, have received local and federal rehabilitation loans to repair leaky roofs and sagging porches, or to renovate Victorian shells, adding fireplaces and roof decks.
Moore has changed the program in recent months, however, eliminating loans for what he called "frills" -- the greenhouses and saunas some people were adding to their homes -- and has promised that lower-income families who need funds to bring their houses up to housing coade standards will get first priority.
Moore cautioned residents at the meeting that the application process could take as long as four or five months.
In the past, some applicants have reportedly waited years to get their homes rehabilitated, and some contractors have complained of near-bankruptcy while they waited for the District to pay them. Moore said he has made changes to improve the program in those areas.
Moore was accompanied at last week's meeting by about a dozen top aides and staff members, who helped him answer questions for an hour and a half. If residents have further questions, they can call the 7C ANC office at 398-5100 or the city housing department rehabilitation office at 767-7538.