(Washington, DC) – Today, as part of #DCHousingWeek, Mayor Bowser, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) and Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd cut the ribbon for HELP USA Veterans Housing on the Parks at Walter Reed, making veterans the first residents to move into the reimagined Walter Reed Campus. The new, 100% affordable housing development will deliver 77 units of permanent, supportive housing for previously homeless veterans.
“Our vision for Walter Reed was to build a neighborhood that will benefit Washingtonians across the income spectrum as part of our goal of building a more inclusive DC,” said Mayor Bowser. “And in particular, when our veterans experience a housing crisis, we’re going to be there for them with programs that are in safe, service-enriched permanent housing. We built on that commitment today by supporting our most vulnerable residents and opening, new affordable housing for District veterans.”
Ending homelessness among veterans is a key focus of the Mayor Bowser’s Homeward DC plan. Since Mayor Bowser took office in 2015, over 2,100 veterans have exited the street or shelter to permanent housing – resulting in a 27% reduction in homelessness among veterans.
This project was a collaboration with HELP USA, an organization focused on providing safe and affordable housing for the nation’s homeless vets, and District agencies including DMPED, the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the DC Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA), the DC Housing Authority (DCHA), the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH).
“Today is a special day for in the District’s redevelopment of the historic Walter Reed,” said Interim Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “For years, this historic site served our nation’s service members and now will serve them in return. At Walter Reed, the veterans can access services and amenities and be part of the core of the new community of residents, businesses and opportunity we are building on upper Georgia Ave.”
The 77 units to be constructed will be offered at the following affordability levels: 75 permanent supportive housing units at 30% Median Family Income for chronically homeless veterans and two units at 50% median family income. The site of the project, former Abrams Hall (Building 14), was originally constructed in 1976 as barrack housing for soldiers receiving long-term medical care who were able to live semi-independently. HELP USA is the first of three affordable housing projects in Abrams Hall; at completion it will include a total of 211 affordable housing units for seniors and veterans.
“There can be no higher or better use of this historic site than to continue serving the men and women of the Armed Services.” said Tom Hameline President & CEO of HELP USA. “Because of the vision of the District government, the generosity of our private sector partners, and the hard work of my team, we can today move seventy-seven veterans off the street and offer them what they always deserved, a place to call home.”
The Walter Reed redevelopments has already delivered several community-serving benefits: In February 2018, Mayor Bowser cut the ribbon on the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Engine Company 22 and in September 2017, the DC International and LAMB Schools opened for their first school year in the former Delano Hall. In addition, last summer, Mayor Bowser broke ground on 80 affordable apartments for seniors, as well as 390 new market-rate and affordable homes at the Brooks and Vale, at Georgia Avenue and Aspen Street, NW.
“The redevelopment projects at Walter Reed have enhanced Ward 4 in many ways, but perhaps none will be more profound than these units of affordable housing, which have uplifted 77 homeless veterans out of homelessness,” said Councilmember Todd. “I am extremely proud to cut this ribbon today and give back to our veterans who have given so much to us. On behalf of Ward 4, we could not be more excited to welcome these veterans into our community and look forward to them taking full advantage of the services and amenities Walter Reed and the Upper Georgia Avenue corridor have to offer.”
The Parks at Walter Reed redevelopment, which will be phased over a 10-15 year period, is the result of a successful community-driven process led by then-Councilmember Bowser and now by Mayor Bowser. In 2016, the U.S. Army officially transferred 66-acres of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus to the District, making way for the development of The Parks at Walter Reed. Over the next 30 years, The Parks at Walter Reed will generate 5,000 jobs, 2,100 units of housing, 432 of which will be affordable housing units, and nearly $1 billion in tax revenue.