New Homes Bring New Life, Investment and Sense of Community to Southwest

What’s the return on a $1,000,000 LISC investment? The beautifully restored Syphax School as 12 condominiums and 29 adjacent, newly constructed townhomes, now called Syphax Village at Half and N Street SW.

We hope that William Syphax, the first president of the Board of Colored Public Schools of Washington DC, would be pleased to know that while the property is no longer used as a school, it has brought new life, investment and a stronger sense of community to the neighborhood.

On January 28, 2005 Manna Inc gathered the community to celebrate the redevelopment of the historic, formerly vacant Syphax School into Syphax Village Condominiums which was the final phase of the Syphax Village Development. All 41 homes have been sold and will be fully occupied by May 2005.

So, did our investment reach our ultimate mission, to help create hospitable and affordable places of choice for lower income households? Just ask Ken LaCruise, a newly minted citizen originally from Jamaica, who now works in retail.

Arriving in 2000, Mr. LaCruise came face to face with the beginning of the real estate boom and escalating housing costs. Thankfully, through friends he heard about Manna’s Homebuyers Club and decided to join. “Manna took me in and walked me through all the processes involved in homebuying and exposed me to different programs that assist homebuyers.”

Today, Mr. LaCruise is the proud owner of one of the first Syphax Village townhomes. Since moving in, Mr. LaCruise has seen visible changes in his neighborhood changes that new residents from Syphax and the members of the local ANC helped bring about. “The noise level has gone down and there is no more drug dealing on our corner. We also met our neighbors from the public housing across the street and now we are working together.” A firsthand testament to the positive impact that new homeowners bring to their neighborhoods.

LISC provided a $1,000,000 loan for the creation of the Syphax Village.