"Partnerships with private developers allow us to extend our reach in helping people afford the high cost of the living in the Washington area," said LEDC Executive Director Marla Bilonick. "Juniper Courts is an excellent example of how these partnerships can work and be successful."
In case you missed our social media posts on September 1st, we celebrated the preservation of rent affordability for 95 DC families at Juniper Court on Georgia Avenue at a ribbon cutting hosted by project developer WC Smith.
WC Smith highlighted the innovative nature of the project and credited project partners for forging critical agreements to ensure tenants remained in the neighborhood at affordable rents while the building was renovated. As a result, tenants are now guaranteed affordability for at least 30 years.
Our Affordable Housing Preservation Team began working with tenants at Juniper Court in 2010 to correct hazardous housing conditions and in the process helped tenants establish a tenant association. The building was put up for sale in 2012. The process for tenants to purchase a building is quite technical and burdensome and usually requires the support of organizers, lawyers, development consultants, and developers.
LEDC organizers assisted tenants with the purchase process by setting up and providing interpretation at meetings between the Tenant Association and their partners. They also ensured that all votes for decision making were counted and signatures were gathered for needed agreements. Tenants received a great deal of support from lawyers with the Harrison Institute at Georgetown University and their development consultant, Gerry Joseph.
"Safe, sanitary housing should not be a luxury reserved for only the wealthiest residents of this city," said LEDC tenant organizer Talia Brock. "Projects like this one show that there is a way to improve living conditions and protect the dignity of low-income tenants without raising rents to a level that results in displacement."