Chanda Washington (DMPED) – (202) 727-6698; [email protected]
(WASHINGTON, DC) – On the eve of Memorial Day holiday, Bowser Administration officials, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd broke ground for HELP USA Veterans Housing on the Parks at Walter Reed. This new 100 percent affordable housing development will consist of 77 units for previously homeless veterans.
“When the U.S. Army transferred the historic Walter Reed campus to the District, I committed to developing the land with purpose and using it to create the types of housing and resources that our community needs,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement. “The campus is already home to two schools and a state-of-the-art fire station, and now we are building on our commitment to support our most vulnerable residents and end homelessness by building new affordable housing for District veterans.”
Since coming into office, the Bowser Administration has sparked the creation or preservation of more than 10,800 affordable units, with another 5,200 in pre-construction. In addition to making unprecedented investments in affordable housing, since taking office, the Administration has increased investments in permanent housing programs by nearly 62 percent and connected more than 3,300 single adults to permanent housing, including more than 1,900 veterans.
This project was a collaboration with HELP USA, an organization focused on providing safe and affordable housing for the nation’s homeless vets, and District agencies including the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the DC Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA), the DC Housing Authority (DCHA), the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED).
“We are incredibly excited to provide this new home for veterans on Walter Reed,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner. “It is such a special, historic place that for years served our nation’s service members and now will serve them in return. We will truly began a second chapter for so many with this campus in the District of Columbia.”
The 77 units to be constructed will be offered at the following affordability levels: 75 permanent supportive housing units at 30 percent Median Family Income for chronically homeless veterans and two units at 50 percent median family income. The site of the project is the former Abrams Hall (Building 14), was originally constructed in 1976 as barrack housing for soldiers receiving long-term medical care who were able to live semi-independently. HELP USA is the first of three affordable housing projects in Abrams Hall; at completion it will include a total of 211 affordable housing units for seniors and veterans.
“The Walter Reed campus has a storied history of serving the men and women of our armed forces, and we are proud to be building housing on this site that will continue that tradition. HELP strongly believes that stable housing is the foundation of every other social service. By developing apartments for homeless veterans and providing on-site services we are helping people to build better lives,” said Tom Hameline, President and CEO, HELP USA.
In 2016, the U.S. Army officially transferred the 66-acre Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus to the District making way for the development of The Parks at Walter Reed, 3.1 million square feet of residential, office, and retail space that will generate 5,000 jobs, 2,100 units of housing, 432 of which will be affordable, and nearly $1 billion in tax revenue over 30 years. The project has already delivered two community-serving benefits; in May, Mayor Bowser cut the ribbon on the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) Engine Company 22, a state-of-the-art fire station at 6825 Georgia Ave NW; and in September 2017, the DC International and LAMB Schools, opened for their first school year in the former Delano Hall on the campus serving nearly 1,000 students from all eight wards.
The Parks at Walter Reed project is the result of a successful community-driven process led by then-Councilmember Bowser and now by Mayor Bowser. Throughout the planning process, which began in 2009, the District and its partners convened over 100 public meetings, and the Parks at Walter Reed will be phased over a 10-15 year period.