DC Housing Expo and Home Show Returns

Resources, Aides Pave Way for Hopeful Homeowners

Polly Donaldson
DHCD Director Polly Donaldson (Freddie Allen)

Many recall the days when Black families or even single adults worked hard, saving their money in order to purchase their very first home — and the joy that came when moving day finally arrived.

And even though prices may have risen in the District and while you may need to push through a few financial obstacles, homeownership isn’t as difficult to achieve as you may believe.

That’s the message of Polly Donaldson, the director of the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and her able-bodied staff as they prepare for the DC Housing Expo and Home Show which takes place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Northwest on Saturday, June 24. The expo, now marking its ninth year, serves as a reminder of the critical role that owning a home plays in communities across the U.S.

For the second year, the District has designated a month-long theme of June Housing Bloom and with a plethora of experts, exhibitors, lenders, community-based organizations and others providing housing-related services on hand, Donaldson says the expo remains one of the best ways to learn more about affordable housing and homeownership options.

“It’s a unique opportunity to get one-on-one information on resources available to those who live or work in the District to help them become homeowners and be able to better maintain and improve their homes — and we welcome everyone even if you’re not a D.C. resident,” Donaldson said.

“One aspect of creating healthy living is nutrition and we’ll have demonstrations at the home show with chefs who will illustrate ways to create nutritious meals. It’s something new we’ve added in recent years and the demonstrations have become quite popular. This year will be fun with participants from the television show “Top Chef” on site stirring up some amazing dishes.”

Some of the features included during the day-long event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., include: workshops on topics like home repair and green living; credit counseling; home improvement — from gardening to landscaping and flooring; aging in place planning; and small business strategies.

Donaldson emphasizes that the expo and home show, a family-friendly event, continues to attract a growing number of residents and business owners. Last year’s attendance totaled over 4,000 and she anticipates even more to stop by this year. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Marvin Turner from the DC HUD Field Office will be among the District’s officials who will meet and greet attendees.

“In keeping with new trends, one of our vendors is Build Tiny,” Donaldson said. “They will highlight ways to design and construct tiny homes — they’ll even help you learn how to buy and build your very own tiny house.”

“It’s important to understand that what often holds people back from becoming a homeowner is fear. We want to break down that wall and educate District residents. We’ll have many resources on hand at the expo and will have experts available to help residents understand what it takes to qualify for loans and to become a first-time homeowner.”

Donaldson says progress continues under the leadership of Mayor Bowser.

“The numbers don’t lie. The District is unequivocally serving more residents and DHCD has almost doubled how much we spend to provide affordable housing to our residents in just two short years. The mayor’s mandate is to use all the tools at our disposal to produce and preserve affordable housing. We have five priorities: housing production, housing preservation, homeownership, ending homelessness and finding solutions to vacant/blighted properties. We also focus on revitalizing neighborhoods through community development.”

Donaldson asserts that with the District being at the forefront of affordable housing development, you can make D.C. your home — if you desire.

“If you want to live in the District and be part of the thousands moving into our city, if you have lived here for five generations or for five minutes, we want you to be part of a city that’s prosperous for all and inclusive. Come talk to our experts, take advantage of the resources and begin your journey toward homeownership,” she said.

The free event is sponsored by DHCD in partnership with the Greater Washington Urban League along with several other sponsors and partners.

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About D. Kevin McNeir – Washington Informer Editor 165 Articles

Award-winning journalist, book editor, voice-over specialist and author with 17 years in the industry. Currently an education and religion beat reporter for The Washington Informer. But I also tackle local (D.C. and Maryland) politics, entertainment, business and health articles to maintain my edge.

Born and raised in Motown and a staunch Wolverine – that is a graduate of the University of Michigan, I left corporate America (IBM) to pursue my passion for writing, accepting a beat reporter’s gig under the tutelage of the late Sam Logan, founding publisher of the Michigan Chronicle. I continued to hone my craft at N’DIGO Magapaper, Windy City Times and The Wednesday Journal, all in Chicagoland; the Atlanta Voice and The Miami Times. I’ve been fortunate to be chosen twice as the Feature Writer of the Year by the Chicago Association of Black Journalists. Later, as the senior editor of one of the country’s oldest Black-owned newspapers, The Miami Times, I helped my staff bring home the NNPA’s highest honor – Publication of the Year, 2001. That same year I picked up first and second place awards for news and feature writing, respectively, also from the NNPA.

Today I’m based in the nation’s capital where I’m honored to serve as the editor for The Washington Informer. Recognizing the importance of education, I’ve earned two master’s degrees from Emory University, Summa Cum Laude and Princeton Theological Seminary, majoring in theology and philosophy.

If I can slow down, I may actually complete and publish a collection of essays I’ve been working on for many years, “Growing up Motown,” sharing childhood memories of experiences with musical legends like Marvin Gaye, Kim Weston, the Four Tops, the Miracles, Gladys Knight and Take Six. My favorite foods: spinach, lasagna, pancakes and Oysters Rockefeller. My mom, 86, always my “best friend” and “cheerleader,” now lives with me and she brings me great joy. I’m a fiercely protective yet encouraging father and grandfather always down for traveling, shopping or celebrating the natural beauty of God’s world. I live by the following words: “Less is more” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

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