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Tonight is Barry Farm take two: Three weeks after an attempted D.C. Housing Authority meeting with residents of the Ward 8 public housing complex about possible plans for its redevelopment was called off amid incessant protests, the Housing Authority is taking another stab at it. This time, the meeting is residents-only—-an effort to keep out the nonresident Empower DC protesters who prevented the last meeting from getting underway—-with no press allowed in. In advance of the meeting, the Housing Authority and Empower have already traded jabs.
But Barry Farm isn’t the only Housing Authority property facing redevelopment. It’s one of two housing developments for which the Housing Authority has received Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; the other is Kenilworth Courts in the Kenilworth neighborhood.
And now a third housing development could join the list. On May 28, the Housing Authority applied to HUD for another Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant, for the Greenleaf complex that comprises four city blocks near the Waterfront Metro station.
Greenleaf—-which totals nearly 500 units between Greenleaf Gardens, Greenleaf Senior, Greenleaf Extension, and Greenleaf Addition—-was constructed beginning in 1959 and straddles Delaware Avenue SW south of I Street. The surrounding area has seen tremendous development in recent years, from the D.C. government buildings by the Metro station to the area around Nationals Park, and a major development is planned along the Southwest waterfront. And so, similar to the Housing Authority’s use of a Hope VI grant to transform the troubled Capper/Carrollsburg public housing complex in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood into a mixed-income community, the agency is now exploring ways to bring a mix of incomes and uses to Greenleaf.
The goal, says Housing Authority Director of Capital Programs Stephen Green, is to put the aging complex “on track to be self-sustaining for the next 30 to 40 years.”
Green says the Housing Authority is committed to a one-to-one replacement of affordable units in any redevelopment—-a major concern for current residents of public housing who fear displacement. In the redevelopment of Capper/Carrollsburg, the Housing Authority is still pledging a one-to-one replacement, but it’s already taken nearly a decade without completion in sight.
A Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant would give the Housing Authority up to $500,000 to “support the development of comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plans which focused on directing resources to address three core goals: Housing, People and Neighborhoods,” according to the HUD website. If the Housing Authority wins a planning grant for Greenleaf, the next step might be to apply for a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant of up to $30 million to assist in the actual redevelopment. The Housing Authority fell just short of receiving an implementation grant for Kenilworth Courts and plans to reapply.
Map from the D.C. Housing Authority