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Mayor Bowser Delivers on the Promise of the New Communities Initiative

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Deanwood Hills will deliver 150-Units of affordable housing in Ward 7

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner broke ground on Deanwood Hills, a 150-unit affordable housing development located at 5201 Hayes Street, NE in Ward 7. This project is part of the New Communities Initiative, a District effort to revitalize Washington, DC’s most underserved neighborhoods and ensure that residents are able to stay in their neighborhoods while enjoying a high quality of life. Today’s groundbreaking represents the first activity on a New Communities Initiative development in nearly four years.

“Today, we are moving forward on two commitments I made to this community when I took office – to provide more affordable housing and fulfill the goals of the New Communities Initiative,” said Mayor Bowser. “With every affordable housing unit added in Washington, DC, we are ensuring that more residents and families are given a fair shot. I look forward to welcoming residents to their new Deanwood Hills homes and continuing to expand opportunities east of the Anacostia River.”

Deanwood Hills is a critical investment in the Deanwood neighborhood and the Nannie Helen Burroughs corridor. All 150 units will restrict rents to 60 percent area median income (AMI) or below. In addition, 50 units will be geared toward residents earning 0-30 percent AMI, and will be offered to residents currently living in Lincoln Heights and Richardson Dwellings, both set to be demolished by 2025. The four-story residential project will include 31 three- and four-bedroom units for families currently living in Lincoln Heights and Richardson Dwellings; these units will serve as replacement housing under the New Communities Initiative.

“Mayor Bowser has charged me with making affordable housing a top priority in every new District development,” said Deputy Mayor Brian Kenner. “We are excited to break ground here at Deanwood Hills and to continue our focus on making housing accessible and affordable throughout the District.”

With 50 replacement units, Deanwood Hills represents the largest single development to date under the New Communities Initiative’s plan for offsite replacement housing. The entire $33 million, 150,000 square-foot development will include a community room, teen activity and computer room, and a fitness center. It is expected to deliver in spring of 2018.

Deanwood Hills, which will produce jobs for District residents and opportunities for small and local businesses through the First Source and CBE commitments, reflects the guiding principles of the New Communities Initiative:

  • create mixed-income housing that will deliver a project with high-quality housing options for a range of incomes, where all the units are of the same quality regardless of household income level;
  • support the “build first” principle;
  • advance the goal of one-for-one replacement; and
  • provide opportunities for residents to return to or stay in their communities.

The New Communities Initiative is a District government program that began in 2005 and was designed to revitalize severely distressed housing and redevelop underserved communities. The initiative targets four neighborhoods that include Barry Farm in Ward 8, Lincoln Heights/Richardson Dwellings in Ward 7, Northwest One in Ward 6 and Park Morton in Ward 1.

Since taking office, Mayor Bowser has made affordable housing, particularly in underserved communities, a major focus of her administration. Today’s groundbreaking comes on the heels of the release of a final report from the DC Housing Preservation Strike Force detailing a proactive, multi-pronged strategy for preserving the District’s existing supply of affordable housing. Mayor Bowser has also committed $100 million annually to the Housing Production Trust Fund each year of her administration – more than any city per capita in the country. A report issued by Center for Community Change shows that the District’s $100 million fund more than tripled the next highest fund amount for a U.S. city, and compared to states, DC’s trust fund is the country’s second largest. 

For more information about the New Communities Initiative, please visit: