Bertha Howard moved to Capper-Carrollsburg in the 1980s. She now lives on the same property, but thanks to redevelopment her home is in a much newer building within Capitol Quarter..
She says her new apartment is “beautiful.” “So neat and clean and I’m in the middle of everything. I can walk out and catch the bus, walk two blocks to the subway, and stores are all around me,” said Howard. “I’ve got plenty of light coming in both rooms, a large bathroom. I just love my apartment.”
Howard was one of the many District of Columbia Housing Authority customers who moved out and later returned to the Southeast neighborhood following the Capper-Carrollsburg redevelopment begun in 2007. This was one of the largest HOPE VI redevelopment projects nationwide.
DCHA leveraged the $34.9 million HOPE VI grant, awarded in 2001, with public and private dollars to generate more than $581 million to create 1,700 rental and homeownership units, office and retail space, and a community center. DCHA committed to rebuilding the 707 affordable units that had been part of the now demolished Capper-Carrollsburg development.
“We were in meetings before we moved to choose which building we wanted to come back to. I wanted to be on M Street where I used to live,” Howard said.
She also said regular meetings were set up for residents to help them prepare for the newly redeveloped community. They also attended classes to help them improve credit, housekeeping, and budgeting. She said the computer skills and resume writing classes were very helpful.
“They even taught you how to buy a house,” said Howard, who works at her church and assists the sick and elderly. “If your credit was good and you had income coming in, you could buy a house.”
The process of moving from her old complex to her temporary apartment and then back again to her new home went just as DCHA employees had described. “We were notified beforehand,” she said. She had packed her clothes and movers provided by DCHA and her children helped her pack up the rest. The movers took everything to the new unit, although there was a slight hiccup in their directions. Howard got it resolved quickly.
“Other than that, they were great,” she said. “It was a smooth move.”
While moving is never fun, Howard said that she welcomed the return move because she knew she was “going to a much better place because it was new.”