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While we’re all mourning the loss of the TIGER II grants, which would have funded transit improvements from Bikeshare to Union Station, today brought something to celebrate in the world of federal largesse as well: A $3 million chunk of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities funding, awarded to the District’s Department of Housing and Community Development. That’s more than any other awardee.

What’s DHCD going to do with the money? A lot of things. The main goal: “Anchor the existing residents of Historic Anacostia, which will not be affordable in another decade unless direct, explicit and significant actions and investments are made to ensure a continued supply of affordable housing.” Specific actions include home purchase and renovation assistance, acquisition of vacant and abandoned properties for resale, small business startup help, and rehabilitation of commercial buildings. Also in there: A branding and community engagement campaign, which seems to have already started, as well as the rebirth of either the Historic Anacostia Main Street program or a new Business Improvement District.

So, all of a sudden the quiet purchase of buildings along Martin Luther King Avenue starts to make sense, and Duane Gautier‘s vision for brightened storefronts up and down the commercial avenues even closer to reality. And the streetcar will make it eventually, TIGER or no TIGER.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery.