New affordable homes open for DC seniors, with funding toward more on the way

New affordable housing has opened for some D.C. seniors on limited budgets.

Mayor Muriel Bowser took part in the ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday at the Todd A. Lee Senior Residences on Kennedy Street in Ward 4.

The 38 affordable apartments there are earmarked for those 55 and older who make 50% or less of the area median income.

“We are going to stay focused on making sure that we continue to realize that vision that is housing, that is recreation, that is retail, that is culture, and that is beautiful and safe,” Bowser said at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

This housing unit is just one part of the mayor’s promise to create 36,000 new homes by 2025, with at least 12,000 of those being affordable ones for D.C. residents.

“To make sure we can grow our middle class, and make sure everybody gets what everybody deserves in D.C., and that’s a fair shot,” Bowser said.

“A fair shot for the deep-in-the-bones Go-Go-loving Washingtonians to the Washingtonians who’ve been here for five minutes or five generations, like my family.”

The senior residences are not just apartments. The building houses 1,000 square feet of retail space, a fitness center and community areas too.

The building was dedicated in honor of Todd Lee, who served as the Executive Director and CEO of the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency, and was a housing advocate. He died last year.

The Todd A. Lee Senior Residence was given $7.5 million in funding by D.C.’s Housing Production Trust Fund, something Bowser has put an additional $400 million in funding for in the budget proposal she sent to the D.C. Council.

“Each year, the mayor had been putting a $100 million, for the last six years. That’s $600 million,” said Deputy Mayor of Economic Development John Falcicchio. “But in this budget alone, there’s $400 million dollars, putting us over $1 billion.”

The ribbon cutting ceremony was used to launch another loan program to aid in future housing construction as well.

“There are now $2 million available for the Oramenta Newsome Predevelopment Loan Program, which allows nonprofits and limited equity co-ops to have funding to do predevelopment work,” Falcicchio said.

Predevelopment includes engineering plans and other work needed to design what would go on the lot.

Nonprofits and limited equity co-ops now can apply online.

The mayor’s office announced a plan to begin work in a few months with faith-based institutions to use their properties to create more housing as well.

“We want to work with a faith-based institutions to make sure if they have a location near their house of worship, that’s maybe not as vibrant as it should be, we want to work with them,” said Falcicchio.

“There’s $1 million dollars available for those institutions to apply so they can take what may be a parking lot or unutilized lot and make that into housing.”

That pilot program, which begins in September, will offer grants up to $50,000 for studies and planning to build more housing in the District.

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Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

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