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Veterans Housing Breaks Ground in D.C.

Friday, June 1, 2018
HELP USA to provide 77 units on the Walter Reed Medical Center campus for formerly homeless vets.

Apartment Finance Today by Christine Serlin

Community members broke ground on a development for formerly homeless veterans and other individuals on the historic Walter Reed Medical Center campus in Washington, D.C., at the end of May.

HELP USA, which is dedicated to serving special-needs populations, will provide 77 furnished apartments and wraparound services through the adaptive reuse of a former military building on the campus. The project will receive permanent supportive housing vouchers for 75 of the units, which will be reserved for individuals earning 30% or less of the area median income (AMI). The remaining two units will serve individuals at 50% of the AMI.

“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 the site that will continue that tradition,” said HELP USA president and CEO Tom Hameline. “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 begin to build better lives.”

The adaptive-reuse project is an extension of mayor Muriel Bowser’s Roots to Roofs DC initiative, which highlights programs and tools to make Washington, D.C., more affordable for residents in all eight wards. HELP USA has worked in collaboration with District agencies, including the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the D.C. Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA), the D.C. Housing Authority, the Department of Human Services, and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.

“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,” said Bowser 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.”

Financing for the $18.3 million project has recently been announced. DCHFA issued $9.54 million in acquisition and rehabilitation financing, and TD Bank closed on a construction loan of that same amount to purchase the bonds. Additional financing will be provided through a Community Development Block Grant loan from DHCD and low-income housing tax credit equity.

The campus will eventually become The Parks at Walter Reed and will be comprised of 2,100 units of housing, of which over 400 will be affordable; retail space; office space; a hotel; charter schools; and open park space. The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center will remain a fully operational hospital on the site.