Saturday, April 03, 2010

Ivy City's Jimmy Fund

News out of DC's (once?) blighted Ivy City neighborhood is sounding positive these days. It was a little over a year ago that the District announced it would team up with non-profit developers, Mi Casa, Inc., Manna, Inc., DC Habitat for Humanity and MissionFirst to rehab 37 vacant properties within a six-blocks radius in Northeast DC.

With nonprofit home builder Mi Casa already at work on their first units, DC Habitat for Humanity President Kent Adcock confirms that the Ivy City overhaul is on track to move into the second phase of development: 8 duplexes along Providence Street, NE. Adcock is not definitive about the completion time-line for the project, saying his organization will start with three duplexes but anticipates staying in Ivy city for three years, ultimately placing “30 to 35 families in these homes.”

Look for a star-studded ground breaking featuring 200 volunteers, an appearance by grinning former President Jimmy Carter and other yet-to-be -announced celebrities on October 4th of this year.

In the meantime, northeast residents can stay up-to-date on project developments by attending the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) public hearing on May 6th at the Housing Resource Center on the first floor of 1800 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE.

In addition to getting a sneak peak at what Habitat has planned for 1817 Providence Street, NE, DHCD Senior Public Information Officer Angelita Colรณn-Francia says that first-time homeowners can attend the meeting to learn about purchasing options.

As Adcock explains, the majority of “the families we’re serving are below 30% AMI - for a family of four, that’s $30-31,000 max.” The sale of the first homes will guarantee that “no one should have to pay more than 25% of their income at 0% interest” to own a home. By acting as their own bank, Habitat can sell their homes at cost to area families.

It also helps that, according to DHCD’s Ivy City Special Demonstration Project web site, the District is subsidizing the acquisition price for each property. "The request for proposals committed $3 million in gap financing to the developers through DHCD. There is limited profit gain for the developers involved; therefore, the District’s commitment to provide gap financing is essential for the developers to complete the project.”

According to Adcock, Habitat is in the midst of “negotiating on an additional 15 lots with the District and 5 rehabs” on top of their current 8 home projects. He says we could see as many as 30 Habitat buildings and “full gut rehab” jobs coming to Ivy City before Habitat’s ready to call their portion of the Ivy City Special Demonstration Project a wrap. These next phases will sell at up to 80% AMI to bring a mixed-income vibe to the neighborhood.

In typical Habitat fashion, future residents will be invited to help build their own homes. Habitat has been working with Trinity Baptist Church and local ANC Commissioners to reach these potential homeowners.

“I think this project is just a demonstration about how collaboration and partnership really works,” says Adcock proudly. “In and of ourselves, we’d have trouble getting into a part of the District like Ivy City, but because the District jumped into help, we’ll really be able to help rehab and turn a part of the city around.”

Washington, DC Real Estate and Development News


Ace in DC said...

It seems that families that inhabit these homes let them go into disrepair and turn them into the exact hell holes that they were just rehabilitated from. Are there examples out there where low income and subsidized housing (complexes/developments) have actually flourished in the district instead of turning into a crime ridden and dangerous area? What services/protections are being built into this development to ensure this doesn't happen to Ivy City?

diamond said...

ace in dc,

you have a popular, yet often uninformed perception of low income and subsidized housing. but yes there are successful examples.
ellen wilson project on capitol hill is the first to spring to mind.

the thing is, the failures look like failures. the successes look like normal market rate places so you wouldn't even know.

Anonymous said...

Habitat doesn't just encourage future homeowners to help build their homes, they actually require them to put in "sweat equity" in the field (or, less often, in the Habitat office).

This helps the future owner to learn about the construction process, which helps them become more responsible homeowners. It is extremely rare for Habitat owners to default on their mortgages or let their houses go into disrepair. Ivy City will be gaining a whole bunch of long term, responsible residents through this excellent project.

Anonymous said...

ivy city baby!

Ace in DC said...

Thanks for the responses. Hopefully Ivy City will follow some of the successful examples and hopefully the city is planning for some of the services to be readily accessible to this new developement. It would be sad for the well meaning non-profit organizations and the city to waste its money, resources and energy just to create a new and shiny criminal hangout.

Anonymous said...

I worked with Habitat for Humanity in Los Angeles in 1995 where we built 21 homes "down in the 'hood" The homes were just around the corner from one of the "projects". Now 15 years later you can still see the pride and maintenance that people who have an equity interest in their homes exhibit. Ownership and being out from under the decisions of a "slumlord" bring out the best in people and their neighborhoods.

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