The Washington Post

Vincent Gray seeks to burnish affordable housing record

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray first proposed a $100 million affordable housing commitment in his State of the District address this year. (Astrid Riecken/The Washington Post)

First things first: Mayor Vincent C. Gray said at his regular biweekly news conference Wednesday that he has still has not determined whether he will seek a second term.

But he used the event to burnish his record on affordable housing, which promises to be a leading issue in the mayoral race regardless of whether Gray runs or not.

On a vacant lot on Spring Place NW — a hidden byway tucked against the railroad tracks in Takoma — Gray unveiled a list of 47 projects slated to receive a piece of $187 million in District government financing over the next two years. The projects are together expected to create or preserve more than 3,100 affordable housing units in the city.

They include Metro Village, a 120-unit project slated for the Spring Place lot, as well as large projects in Columbia Heights (a renovation of the 80-unit former Hebrew Home for the Aged), Congress Heights (the 183-unit Parkway Overlook apartments) and at East Capitol Street and Benning Road (a 198-unit project being developed by So Others Might Eat).

The funding for the projects is a combination of the $100 million Gray already committed to maintaining or growing the city’s affordable housing stock, plus additional funds from a variety of existing federal and local programs. While the money isn’t new, the list of specific projects is. Eighteen of the 47 projects, including Metro Village and the SOME project, have received provisional letters of funding commitment from the city.

Even if all the projects announced Wednesday come to fruition, however, they would put the city less than a third of the way toward Gray’s goal of creating or maintaining 10,000 affordable units by 2020 — the target set by his affordable housing task force this year.

“We’ve put some serious skin in the game,” Gray said. “There’s too much at stake not to be committed to what was proposed.”

But with at least $500 million total needed over the next seven years to make good on Gray’s overall 10,000-unit goal, still more skin will have to be put into the game. Sound like the makings of a reelection campaign platform?

“There will be no announcement today,” Gray said.

The list of projects announced Wednesday (asterisks indicate those with conditional funding commitments):

11th Street Project – 15 units
1314 K Street SE Cooperative – 12 units
22 Atlantic Cooperative Association Inc. – 15 units
2321 4th Street* – 116 units
30th Place Crescent Townhomes – 26 units
4000 Benning* – 71 units
62nd Street Apartments – 39 units
Agape Apartments (DHCD HIV/AIDS Housing Initiative) – 10 units
Beacon Center* – 99 units
Blair Road Project* – 8 units
Bowen Place Apartments* – 37 units
Cornerstone Community Supportive Housing* – 7 units
Deanwood & Anacostia Property Acquisitions – 9 units
Gainesville Court – 12 units
Grand View Estates II* – 46 units
HFH Transition House (DHCD HIV/AIDS Housing Initiative) – 9 units
Hope and a Home, Inc. Scattered Sites – 4 units
Israel Manor Senior Residences – 49 units
Kara House* – 10 units
Maplewood Apartments – 94 units
Maycroft Redevelopment Project* – 64 units
Metro Village* – 120 units
N Street Villiage – Miriam’s House* – 25 units
North Capitol Commons – 123 units
Owen House* – 4 units
Parkway Overlook – 183 units
Partner Arms 1* – 14 units
Partner Arms 4* – 36 units
Pennsylvania House* – 32 units
Phyllis Wheatley* – 84 units
Pleasant Park Cooperative, Inc. – 60 units
Sierra Cooperative – Rehab – 15 units
SOME’s Benning Road Project* – 198 units
Spring Road – 80 units
The Gregory Apartments – 124 units
Tobias Henson Apartments – 64 units
Trinidad Properties (w/ PADD) – 6 units
Trinity Plaza – Retail Worker Housing Demo Initiative – 51 units
Unity 25* – 27 units
Eight tenant-purchase projects in negotiation – 1,139 units

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.



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Mike DeBonis · November 20, 2013

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