The District of Columbia Housing Authority has been chosen to receive the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials Awards of Excellence: Affordable Housing for MetroTowns @ Parkside.
“DCHA and its development partners did great work at MetroTowns @ Parkside and now it is getting national recognition with the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials’ (NAHRO) Awards of Excellence,” said DCHA Executive Director Adrianne Todman. “In addition to providing low-income housing for our customers, we also celebrate the 11 DCHA customers who became homeowners in this community—three of whom are former Parkside Additions residents.”
MetroTowns is a $33.6 million workforce community featuring 125 new homes, including 42 replacement public housing units. It once was the site of Parkside Additions. The community was made possible through several innovative processes used from conception, through financing, and into completion. In fact, 11 of the new community members were Parkside Additions residents and another 30 lived in the neighboring Kenilworth Courts.
The idea behind MetroTowns @ Parkside came from the District’s civic leader, Abe Pollin. Throughout a long and distinguished career as a builder, owner of the NBA Washington Wizards and NHL Washington Capitals, and philanthropist, Pollin spent his entire life in Washington, D.C. He improved the quality of life for his fellow Washingtonians in many ways, including providing affordable homes for D.C. government employees and their families.
Part of the marketing effort for the revitalized community featured a six-month marketing campaign to D.C. employees. In addition, DCHA employees worked through its Family Self-Sufficiency Program or homeownership programs to prepare existing customers interested in homeownership at the site. This process required credit counseling, first-time home buying classes, and partnering with other public and private agencies for guidance with local lenders and real estate agents. DCHA offers support throughout the entire process of a family’s self-sufficiency process. This work resulted in three former Parkside Addition residents becoming homeowners using their Housing Choice Vouchers to subsidize their monthly mortgage cost. Six other voucher families purchased homes in the same way. One public housing resident became a homeowner using the rent escrowed towards the purchase of his home. One veteran used the Veterans Administration Supportive Housing voucher to purchase in the community.
The 42 rental townhomes and apartments serve public-housing residents. Through the creative use of various public agency soft/subordinate financing programs, more than $5.2 million was made available to make the 83 for-sale homes affordable to those buyers who earn anywhere between 40 to 100 percent of the area median income – that means a starting purchase price below $300,000. DCHA owns the 42 public housing units, eight of which are homes to former Parkside Additions residents and 30 went to neighboring Kenilworth Courts residents.
The development team helped create $200,000 in annual tax revenue for the city where there had formerly been none. The community’s success has led to more redevelopment in the area, as well.
From construction in June 2012 to completion in the fall of 2015, MetroTowns has been one innovative success after another.
MetroTowns first competed for one of NAHRO’s Awards of Merit in Housing and Community Development and won. The official award presentation will take place in New Orleans on October 15 during NAHRO’s National Conference & Exhibition.
“The NAHRO Awards of Excellence Program notifies the public of the virtuous work that NAHRO member organizations do for their residents and community. The award recognizes the innovative housing and community development projects, programs, and services that member organizations provide to make a difference in the lives of those they serve,” said NAHRO President Steve W. Merritt.
The Agency Awards Program is a two-tiered program consisting of Awards of Merit and Awards of Excellence. The first tier, the Awards of Merit, are submitted to National NAHRO and sent to Regional Juries for review. NAHRO’s Awards of Merit recognize outstanding achievement in housing and community development programs in five categories. The second tier, the Awards of Excellence, is selected from the Award of Merit winners nominated for an Award of Excellence by the Regional Juries. They are then sent to National Juries who may select up to 24 awards. This year out of the 90 entries nominated for the Awards of Excellence, only 20 were selected to receive this honor. The Awards of Excellence will be featured in upcoming articles in the Journal of Housing and Community Development.
“This program celebrates the accomplishments of services that our members do each and every day for their residents and community to ensure a safe and affordable place to call home. By awarding the efforts of housing agencies and agency officials through NAHRO’s Awards of Excellence,” said NAHRO Acting CEO John Bohm. “We hope that the general public, community leaders, private industry and government itself will become inspired to create, produce, and reform new and existing housing and community development programs to meet the housing necessities of our nation’s most vulnerable inhabitants.”