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As Congress holds a confirmation hearing today on Ben Carson, Donald Trump‘s pick for secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, outgoing HUD director Julian Castro and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser are cutting a ribbon on a new 14-story building for veterans and low-income residents at North Capitol and K Streets.
Designed by Sorg Architects, the John and Jill Ker Conway Residence features 124 efficiency units, 60 of which are considered permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans, and 64 of which are designated for those who make no more than 60 percent of the area median income, or $65,000 for a family of four. Of the latter units, 17 will be set aside for residents who earn less than 30 percent of AMI. Veteran tenants will pay less than a third of their income on rent. Located next to the Saint Phillips Baptist Church, the building also has retail space on the ground floor and amenities like a gym and a conference room.
In recent years, the District and HUD have made it a priority to end veteran homelessness through permanent supportive housing sites like La Casa in Columbia Heights. Last January, officials counted some 350 homeless veterans in D.C., down from more than 400 in 2014.
Sorg Architects says it designed the new residence with the physical and mental health needs of veterans in mind. “The design of structure engages its historic context with a slim, modulated massing that takes advantage of views to the north and south, including the U.S. Capitol and Washington’s monuments, and also provides outdoor terraces and increased daylighting to the units’ interiors,” the firm explains on its website. “The extensive use of glazing throughout maximizes natural light in common corridors, enlivening interior spaces and connecting residents to the larger urban context.”
Officials say the building is the first of its kind in the country to have full-time Veterans Affairs case managers on site. These case managers will help veterans transitioning out of housing instability with health and other needs.
A groundbreaking for this building was held in 2014. The $33 million project was financed through private and public funding, including low-income housing tax credits, tax-exempt bonds, and both federal and local money.