DCHFA Commits $43M to Tenant-Owned Apartment Community


The residents of the Villages of East River have secured the necessary financing to acquire and rehabilitate the 16-building community at scattered sites across Washington D.C.’s Wards 7 and 8.

The District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency has issued $43.1 million in tax-exempt bonds for the project, which will preserve 202 units of affordable housing throughout the Anacostia, Marshall Heights and Fort Dupont neighborhoods.

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The residents of the Villages of East River (formerly WDC 1) formed the Positive Change Tenants Association earlier this year, and exercised their rights under the D.C. Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, which, with the assistance of the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, allows them to purchase the building. 

The overall cost of the acquisition was $95.9 million. An additional $37.6 million in funding came in the form of a Housing Production Trust Fund loan from the DHCD. 

Additionally, DCHFA underwrote $33.4 million in federal low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) equity and $6.4 million in D.C. LIHTC equity to finance the redevelopment.

“Preservation of existing affordable housing assets is an essential component of affordability,” Christopher E. Donald, DCHFA’s executive director and CEO, said in a prepared statement. “The residents at the Villages of East River will have their community renovated and modernized, while their rents remain affordable and allow them to remain in their neighborhoods.” 

The Positive Change Tenants Association selected National Housing Trust Communities and IBF Development as the teams to rehabilitate the community. The project will involve restoring 16 buildings built between 1952 and 1967.

The unit mix will remain the same in the buildings, to include 74 one-bedroom and 128 two-bedroom units. Eighty-one units will be reserved for residents earning 60 percent or less of the area median income, and 80 units will be reserved for those earning up to 50 percent of AMI. Forty-one units will be designated permanent supportive housing reserved for residents earning 30 percent or less of AMI, and they will receive a rent subsidy through the DC Housing Authority.

Renovations will include fully updated kitchens, new roofs, repaired flooring, replacement windows, new hot water heaters, renovated bathrooms, new HVAC units, electrical upgrades, and the creation of accessible pathways. 

“Projects like this one are key to preserving affordable units, as we continue to make strides in the overall number of affordable housing units available to District residents, and continue to work towards the goal of 12,000 new affordable units by 2025,” said Colleen Green, acting director of the Department of Housing and Community Development.

Once all the buildings are completed, there will be two new community centers among the Villages of East River at 301 37th Street SE and 450 First Street SE. 

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.