DCHA Unveils New Low-Income Homeownership Program

WI WebStaff Report | 10/28/2011, 1:23 p.m.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Mayor Vincent C. Gray has joined Adrianne Todman, executive director of the...

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Mayor Vincent C. Gray has joined Adrianne Todman, executive director of the DC Housing Authority, in kicking off a new homeownership program for public housing residents.

The announcement was made at the grand opening of Elvans Court, DCHA's totally renovated, "green" townhome community in Ward 8.

"DCHA is not only fashioning a new physical landscape for Ward 8, it is also carrying out this administration's commitment to One City by empowering our citizens to achieve self-sufficiency and take advantage of economic opportunities," Mayor Gray said.

"Achieving Your Best Life (AYBL) is the first program designed specifically to prepare public housing residents for homeownership," Todman explained. "Families who qualify for the program have up to five years to purchase a home. The rent that the head of household normally would pay as a public housing resident will be deposited into an escrow account. When a family is ready to graduate and purchase their own home, they will receive the escrow funds to use toward their down-payment."

At-Large Council member Michael Brown, chair of the DC Council Committee on Housing and Workforce Development, and Ward 8 Council member Marion Barry spoke at the opening, that was also attended by Lee Jones, a new resident at Elvans Court and participant in the AYBL program.

The homes at Elvans Court totally change the concept of what affordable rental housing should look like. Apartments come complete with hardwood floors and have decks constructed from Trex weather-resistant material. The 20 "green" townhomes have Energy Star(r) heating, air conditioning, appliances and hot water heaters and closets with hook-ups for resident-supplied washers and dryers. They also have siding and roof tiles made from recyclable materials as well as Low-E windows and insulated exterior doors.

DCHA will provide case management and extensive education programs to help AYBL residents advance in their jobs, improve credit scores and take other steps to make them successful and confidant as they move toward homeownership. When participants are ready to graduate from the program, they will move out of Elvans Court to make room for new AYBL homeownership families to move in.