Compounding Interests, Compounding Inequities


Mi Casa, Inc.

Washington, DC

Mi Casa, Inc., an affordable housing nonprofit, helps prevent the displacement of households throughout DC. Mi Casa’s new initiatives in Wards 7 and 8 are working to prevent the loss of some of the District’s last affordable neighborhoods where long-time residents, many of whom are people of color, are experiencing a high threat of displacement. Mi Casa promotes affordable home-ownership (single-family homes and collective ownership through limited equity co-ops) and preserves deeply affordable rental housing within reach of low-income households:

Mi Casa’s Home Within Reach initiative strives to increase the stock of affordable homes for sale East of the River. This includes transforming previously vacant properties into two new, energy efficient, very affordable, energy-efficient single-family homes in Ward 8 Historic Anacostia. These homes, now nearly complete, will allow very low-income families (below 50% Median Family Income/MFI) to purchase their first home in the area they have resided in for years.

For residents who lack access to traditional banking and home loans due to low incomes and poor credit, Mi Casa fosters limited equity cooperatives (LEC), a housing ownership structure that allows residents to collectively pool their resources to purchase and preserve long-term, deeply affordable, member-controlled housing and prevent displacement. Mi Casa works with LECs in Ward 7 and 8, including United 2nd St Co-op and Ben-E Co-op, providing training throughout the co-op’s development.

Mi Casa has also grown its Small Rental Preservation Initiative, working to preserve affordable rental in small buildings throughout DC, with a focus on wards 7 and 8. The organization recently closed a project with 9% tax credits awarded by the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), 30 units total, providing large 2-bedroom apartments with most at below 30% and 50% MFI in Wards 4 and 8 (financed by NEF and United Bank). Mi Casa also collaborates with partners such as Housing Counseling Services, National Housing Trust, and the Douglass Community Land Trust, generating innovative strategies to preserve small properties in wards 7 and 8.

Plaza West

Washington, DC

Plaza West is a 12-story affordable housing development with 223 apartments completed in 2018 located at 4th and K Streets NW in the Mt. Vernon Triangle neighborhood of Washington, DC. The project was developed by Mission First Housing Group in partnership with The Henson Development Company and Golden Rule Plaza Inc., a nonprofit affiliate of Bible Way Church. The Plaza West project is the culmination of the vision of Bible Way Church’s founder, Smallwood E. Williams, to develop an intergenerational center on this site.

Plaza West helps meet a critical need for affordable housing in an area with high rents, low vacancy rates and a scarcity of affordable units. The first of its kind in the DC region, Plaza West includes 50 grandfamily apartments, for grandparents raising grandchildren where the parent is not present. The additional 173 apartments are dedicated to individuals and families, with eleven units reserved for Department of Behavioral Health consumers through vouchers provided by the DC Housing Authority’s Local Rent Supplement Program.

In Washington, DC there are over 4,300 grandparents raising grandchildren, and one third of those grandfamilies are living in poverty. Plaza West provides affordable apartment homes that are physically right-sized for a variety of intergenerational families, support services tailored to the diverse needs of grandfamilies and age-appropriate recreational spaces for a resident group that can include infants and young children, teenagers and seniors.

The Plaza West design and programming creates a grandfamilies “residential village” that is rich with activities, on-site resources, and connections to the services on-site and in the nearby community. The combined housing and services program aims to promote healthy grandfamily bonding, housing stabilization, peer-to-peer support, recreational experiences, and resources for success in school, work and the community.

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