Rental Properties Open in Columbia Heights: High Demand for Two Newly Renovated Properties Highlights Larger Need for Decent, Affordable Rental Housing

When 32 units of affordable rental housing recently became available at 1474 Chapin Street and 1030-1034 Euclid Street, over 160 households sent in their application. Victoria Taylor of the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights (DCCH), the organization that developed and is managing the
properties, was not a bit surprised.

“There are a lot of people in shelters, receiving Section 8 vouchers that cannot find a place to rent” says Taylor, “Others are paying well over 50 percent of their income for rent and looking for
something more affordable.

According to Taylor, most of the households applying are African American and Latino families. Many have to be turned away because their family is too large to fit in the one and two-bedroom units. Two of the units at the Chapin Street property have three-bedrooms, which will house a single mother with 3 children and a grandmother taking care of 4 children. The applicants’ income ranged from $2,800 to $26,000, far below the metropolitan area median income of $82,800.

Development pressures for market rate housing combined with a low income indigenous population have created a huge need for affordable housing, especially rental housing in Columbia Heights. While the rehabilitation of these two properties preserves 32 affordable units, the high demand exhibited for these units -especially from families- demonstrates that we have a long way to go in meeting the need that exists.

Financed in part by Low Income Housing Tax Credits syndicated through LISC affiliate the National Equity Fund, the rehabilitation of these two properties preserves affordable rentals for at least 15 years. The properties also receive project based Section 8 subsidies through the Housing Authority, guaranteeing that no tenant will pay more than 30 percent of income for rent.

On April 22, the community celebrated the grand opening of the Euclid Street units. Both properties are fully leased and residents will move in during May 2004.