On Friday, Dec. 17, Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. (DC Habitat) was joined by District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and partners to celebrate the groundbreaking of eight new affordable homes in Skyland. The event celebrated the beginning of DC Habitat’s newest project creating affordable homeownership opportunities for low-income District residents.
“We’re on a mission to build 36,000 new homes by 2025 — with at least 12,000 designated as affordable homes. Every project that moves us closer to that goal is important,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Habitat for Humanity has been at Skyland for about as long as the city has. They were here in the 90s and early 2000s building affordable housing, and we’re grateful that they’re back and this time with the partnership of the Douglass Community Land Trust.”
These new homes will be made affordable through key partnerships with the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DC DHCD) and the Douglass Community Land Trust (Douglass CLT). DC Habitat acquired the land for these homes at a subsidized cost from DC DHCD. “We want to make sure DC residents have every tool possible to realize the dream of owning a home in their city,” said Interim Director Drew Hubbard. “Through our new one-stop shop at frontdoor.dc.gov, current and aspiring homeowners can access more than fifty resources to help them navigate all aspects of homeownership.”
Douglass CLT is investing in the project, and working with Douglass CLT means the development will be made into a land trust to ensure permanent housing affordability. “We’re not just helping to secure affordability for the eight new families that will live here, but the eight families after them, and the eight after them,” said Vaughn Perry, member of the Board of Directors of Douglass Community Land Trust. “While we’re pleased to invest financially in this project, our ‘investment’ goes far beyond that. The Douglass CLT model works through community ownership of land and collective stewardship. We’re here for the long haul.”
DC Habitat also wishes to acknowledge United Bank for its crucial support in securing construction financing for these homes through the New Market Tax Credit program.
Through this project, DC Habitat is returning to the Skyland neighborhood where it built 34 affordable homes in the early 2000s. The completed homes will have three bedrooms to accommodate larger families in need of affordable housing that provides sufficient space. Each will be built to Enterprise Green Communities standards to reduce environmental impact, enhance durability, and lower homeowner energy bills and overall maintenance costs.
“We believe that housing is more than just where you live,” says Susanne Slater, President and CEO of DC Habitat. “No social problem can be solved until you have a stable place to call home. This newest Skyland development will give eight DC families the chance to own their own homes, and it will also give them the chance to build wealth, to invest in their education and wellbeing, and to secure their own futures.”