Equipping Latinos and other DC-area residents with the skills and financial tools to create a better future for their families and communities.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 11, 2014
Contact: Farah Fosse, Affordable Housing Preservation Director
Tamira Ramirez, Lead Tenant Organizer
(202) 540-7417; (202) 590-4320
Another Win for Affordable Housing in DC: LEDC Celebrates the Creation of the HOPE Cooperative
WASHINGTON – Late yesterday, 13 families living at 1445 Spring Road NW in Ward 4 became homeowners by purchasing their apartment building and forming the HOPE Cooperative – DC’s newest housing cooperative. With organizing support and technical assistance from the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) and bridge financing from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the low- to moderate-income families were able to use DC’s tenant purchase law to preserve their Columbia Heights homes as affordable housing.
“We are so happy we were able to do this,” said Margarita Menjivar, Secretary of the 1445 Spring Rd Tenants Association. “Though we come from different backgrounds, we stayed united. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve this dream without the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) and the Housing Production Trust Fund. We know there are not going to be better owners of the building than ourselves.”
Victorious just nine days after the citywide Housing for All Rally, the cooperative is an example of what is possible when residents join their neighbors to keep their housing affordable and the DC government and private partners prioritize the funding necessary to help them exercise their legal right to purchase their apartment buildings.
“This success is something we can replicate in neighborhoods across the city by ensuring and committing local funding to implement DC’s comprehensive housing strategy” said Farah Fosse, director of LEDC’s Affordable Housing Preservation Program.
The HOPE Cooperative is a dream seven years in the making. For years, tenants faced obstacle after obstacle in their 13-unit apartment building – a defective electrical system, broken windows, subpar heating, illegal rent increases, and a rat infestation.
With the help of LEDC, Margarita and her neighbors took control of their apartment building. After a number of electrical fires in 2008, they sued the management company and won a court settlement that included overhauling the electrical system. Since 2012, when their building was put up for sale, they have worked closely with LEDC and the Harrison Institute for Public Law at Georgetown University to exercise their rights under TOPA to buy the building. The HOPE Cooperative is relying on a long-term investment from the Trust Fund to ensure their home is both affordable and in decent condition in the future.
Thirteen families in the District of Columbia are celebrating becoming homeowners after seven years of hard work.
With organizing support and technical assistance from LEDC and bridge financing from the Local Initiative Supports Corporation, the 1445 Spring Rd NW Tenants Association purchased their apartment building to become the HOPE Cooperative.
"We are so happy we were able to do this," said Margarita Menjivar, secretary of the tenants association. "Though we come from different backgrounds, we stayed united."
Read the full press release here: http://www.ledcmetro.org/press-releases/item/252-another-win-for-affordable-housing-in-dc-ledc-celebrates-the-creation-of-the-hope-cooperative
FIELD at the Aspen Institute and the Capital One Foundation have announced LEDC's Marla Bilonick as a 2014 fellow of the ELM², Emerging Leaders in Microbusiness Squared, Program.
ELM² aims to exponentially increase the talent within microenterprise development organizations that create opportunity for aspiring and disadvantaged entrepreneurs. Twelve emerging leaders, including Marla, who demonstrate potential for executive leadership and creating real change in the microbusiness field have been selected to participate as fellows in the program. ELM² is made possible through a $170,000 contribution from the Capital One Foundation.
"I am thrilled and thankful to Aspen and Capital One to be a part of this year's class of ELM² fellows," Bilonick said. "This fellowship represents an incredible opportunity to learn from industry innovators and to tackle my project of enhanced integration of LEDC's lending and small business education services. I can't wait to embark on this journey with like-minded professionals next week in San Francisco."
Read the full press release: http://fieldus.org/about/ELMsquared2014PR.pdf.
Meet the 2014 fellows: http://fieldus.org/Projects/Elm2014-Fellows.html
About ELM²: http://fieldus.org/Projects/Elm2-Program.html
Director of Communications