The group aims to make the dream of homeownership a reality for black DC residents – NBC4 Washington
Owning a home in your hometown is a goal for many homebuyers, but it has become increasingly out of reach for many Black DC residents.
Mayor Muriel Bowser recently announced a strike force of black homeowners to ease the path to a dream.
DC-area faith leaders say it’s a good start, but they think there’s still more to be done.
There have been many plans over the years for the 67-acre site in southeast DC known as Reservation 13. It sits a stone’s throw from RFK Stadium and includes the former General Hospital. of DC, now surrounded by a chain-link fence.
In 2021, a large section has been identified for a mixed-use development that includes over 2,300 apartments, around a third of which would be for low-income residents.
Patrick Ford grew up nearby, in a home his family had owned for more than six decades.
He would like to see houses built here – houses he could afford to buy.
“When I graduated from high school about 20 years ago, the average house in my neighborhood was around 100,000 million.” Now, he says, those same homes cost between $1.2 million and $2 million.
The Rev. William H. Lamar IV, pastor of the Metropolitan AME Church in the district, is a member of the Washington Interfaith Network. He calls the mayor’s Black Home Ownership Strike Force a good first step.
Lamar’s organization is urging DC leaders to turn public lands such as Reservation 13 into homes that low- and middle-income black Washingtonians can afford.
“We’ve organized potential home buyers, college grads, police officers, teachers, government workers, nonprofit workers, who make this town work and can’t live here,” said Lamar.
Anne Ford, Patrick’s aunt, will be on the front line helping potential buyers prepare financially and otherwise.
“I want lending practices and student loans and credits supported,” she said. “So they can move into affordability and not worry about ‘I’m going to get this foreclosure notice’.”
The plans for this property were the subject of public comment for many years after the facilities closed.
The District has also launched a new program to support current owners. Starting June 22, eligible homeowners can apply for grants from a new $50 million homeowner relief fund. The money can be used to cover mortgage payments, utilities, insurance, internet fees and housing associations.