It takes a committed team to develop affordable housing, and no organization understands that better than Jubilee Housing, Inc., one of Washington, DC LISC’s key partners.
In the summer of 2017, Jubilee broke ground on renovation of the Maycroft Apartments, a historic building which will provide affordable units and services in the Columbia Heights neighborhood, an epicenter of rapid growth and development that is displacing long-term residents.
Without an extraordinary investment of capital—and faith—from LISC, and an army of partners LISC brought to the project, the Maycroft, would not have made it this far.
The project, in fact, had been plagued by challenges in the pre-development phase. Six years ago Jubilee acquired the Maycroft, intending to use a complex combination of three tax credit investment products to renovate the property. The goal was to operate it as very low-cost housing with support services for existing residents and Washingtonians struggling with chronic homelessness.
But in 2012, Jubilee was socked with a lawsuit that would have allowed another developer to convert the Maycroft’s units to market-rate housing. As the project stalled, costs accumulated and other lenders panicked. Jubilee, one of the few CDCs to survive the Great Recession, was in dire need of operating capital for the organization’s other housing and services, and to complete the final predevelopment tasks for the Maycroft.
So DC LISC, then under the leadership of Oramenta Newsome, the longtime executive director who recently passed away, threw Jubilee a $1 million lifeline, composed of several strands. LISC, together with the Meyer Foundation, convened a group of philanthropists to help Jubilee strategize ways to find the needed capital. This effort ultimately raised an additional $250,000 in grants that served as credit enhancement. The LISC loan was “secured” against a vacant lot that already had an existing lien, leveraged above its value, and with no certainty that the project would proceed. LISC added operating support grants and a $100,000 interest-free loan, as well.
LISC’s willingness to take a risk with Jubilee paid off: the unfounded lawsuit failed, and the Maycroft is on track to offer affordable homes to 64 families, including a group of original tenants who partnered with Jubilee to push the project along.
Today, the building is under construction in the heart of a thriving, transit-accessible neighborhood, where residents will have access to an array of supports. Martha’s Table, another LISC partner, will operate a child development center, food pantry, and mobile food truck on the premises, too.
Under Oramenta Newsome, DC LISC “wanted to ensure housing affordability for residents unable to compete in the Columbia Heights rental market,” said Martin Mellett, Jubilee’s vice president of strategic initiatives. “Oramenta spoke out forcefully against unscrupulous players [who jeopardized] housing opportunities for residents with low incomes.” And DC LISC helped prevent 64 families from being priced out of a neighborhood they’ve long called home.
Photo Credit: Jubilee Housing
Private Sector Support
Public Sector Support
Executive Director: Ramon Jacobson (Interim)
1825 K. Street, NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20006