‘DC is for everybody’: Affordable housing replaces torn-down development

By Kristi King

D.C. leaders announced on Monday that a long-promised affordable replacement of torn-down housing is ready for new tenants.

“I’m a fourth-generation Washingtonian, one of the residents of the original Temple Courts,” Ward 6 resident Nathan Brown said at the ribbon-cutting for the new residential building.

“Twenty years ago, on this land that we’re standing on, you would have seen me playing basketball in the parking lot with my neighbors, and laughing while they grill at the neighborhood barbecues,” he said. “That all ended when Temple Courts was demolished in 2008.”

Out of the 220 units in The Rise at Temple Courts building, 150 are dedicated as “affordable homes,” and of those, 65 are (or soon will be) occupied by former residents of Temple Courts. Their rent is 30% of the Area Median Income. There are 85 units priced at 60% of the median income.

“Rise at Temple Courts is more than just a building. This is a reminder that D.C. is for everybody,” Brown said. “And as my friend and WIN (Washington Interfaith Network) leader Rufaro Jenkins always says, ‘If you were here, if you were a part of poverty, you deserve to be a part of prosperity.’ So to all my fellow former residents — let’s prosper,” he said with emphasis.

Referencing the site’s history, D.C. Council member Anita Bonds told those assembled about the tent village that sprang up there in 1968 as part of the Poor People’s Campaign, “trying to get the attention of Congress to say poor people matter, too.”

“Today’s event is yet another delivery on promises made a few decades ago — that Temple Courts and Sursum Corda, affectionately known as Northwest One, would return,” said Bonds, who chairs the housing and community development committee.

“Over the years, former community residents have asked: ‘What about Temple Courts? Is it coming back?’ Well, today it’s happening, because the Northwest One New Communities Initiative is breaking ground on this hallowed land,” she said. “If you look next door, you see another building going up and another building.”

The New Communities Initiative began during the administration of Mayor Anthony Williams as a way to revitalize distressed public housing and the surrounding neighborhoods into vibrant, mixed-income communities.

Read more: Wtop