By Kathleen Hoban
Despite fears of displacement in areas or Northeast and Southeast D.C., including Brookland. Mayor Muriel Bowser wants to focus on making more upscale neighborhoods affordable due to scarcity of affordable housing for the population, primarily pertaining to Rock Creek West.
Mayor Muriel Bowser announced plans to provide low-cost housing in some of the District’s wealthiest neighborhoods to reach the areas impartially throughout the city. Mayor Bowser’s plan would help correct what D.C. council is calling a history of “racially discriminatory” housing policies.
The Mayor’s plan would provide 36,000 new homes, but only 12,000 would be affordable units. The plan would build a “more inclusive and diverse neighborhoods throughout D.C.” and alleviate the threat of displacement for those who can not afford to stay in D.C. due to rising property taxes.
On May 10th, Mayor Bowser signed a Mayor’s Order which directed the D.C. district’s agencies to increase housing production while taking into account affordable housing for families, older adults, citizens with cognitive disabilities, and for residents with lower income.
The projected date for 12,000 affordable housing units would be during Mayor Bowser’s second term in 2025. Through construction and conversion of unrestricted units, as well as maintaining previous low income housing, there is hope that the district will have an equitable distribution no less than 15%.
What does this plan look like in Brookland?
In August, Mayor Bowser announced that Lock 7 Development, a real estate development firm based in D.C., project on Rhode Island Ave. NE received over $3 million dollars via the National Housing Trust Fund. This is the first project in D.C. to receive federal funding that target’s affordable housing, according to the Washington Business Journal.
The project, coined “Mills Place,” is also the first low income unit in D.C. to receive funding through Mayor Bowser’s program since it took effect in 2016.
The project is estimated to cost a little over $25 million dollars to build overall . Lock 7’s plan is to construct 61 units, ranging from one, two and three-bedroom apartments. 13 of the 61 units will be “permanent supportive housing”, making it affordable to people making 30% or less of the area median income.
That is not the only construction taking place between now and 2020. MRP Realty will also be redeveloping the Rhode Island Avenue Shopping Center and the Mid-City Financial Corp. wants to redevelop Brookland Manor.
Brookland is known to be among the poorest neighborhoods in DC. along with having above average crime rate, although crime rate has been going down in this neighborhood as well as others. The idea of affordable housing in the area would help combat homelessness and displacement while bringing down the crime rate.