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Another Ward 8 Group Home: Valley Ave. SE

Group homes, transitional housing – it seems to have exploded in recent months in Ward 8. I will be the first to confess, I’m not an expert, authority or investigator of such services, but they have been brought to light lately with the Calvary Women’s Shelter in Anacostia, the Ex-Convicts Halfway House, and Candidate Natalie Williams Sit-In scheduled for next week to discuss this very topic.

At last weeks ANC8E meeting the planned group home in the 200 block of Valley Ave. SE. was a topic of discussion. The plans were first brought to the comissions attention on January 7th when the buildings neighbor reached out to me once she learned of the intended use of the property. At the ANC meeting, the owner and the operator of the group home presented their plans with lots of opposition from the community members in attendance. It’s important to note that there were several members of the community in attendance that support the home and the services they provide.

A lenghty, and at times contensious conversation about the home followed Council Chairman Brown’s attendance.

About the space and the project:

+There are two buildings that will have 8 units each to house two children per room.

+ Children will be between the ages of 12-17.

+ The children have mental disabilities and will be under monitor and surveillance 24 hours a day.

+ The children will have transportation to and from school each day, and there will be 2 security guards on site overnight when the daytime specialists leave.

About the neighborhood opposition:

+ They are there by matter of right and plan to open the group home.

+ It was not their intention to not be forthcoming with the community – they just suspiciously never came to an ANC meeting, passed our flyers or otherwise sought to be a “good neighbor” in their entry to the area.

Several members of ANC8E have reached out to various DC offices to determine the requirements, zonin and paperwork that must be in place in order for the home to open. More to follow on what we find out.

I think it is important to note that the general sentiment at the meeting was that we as a community are not against supporting youth and programs that help with the betterment and progression of our neighborhood. However, collectively we feel that this project was not correctly introduced to the community and fear the ramifications of introducing additional social programs to an area already “oversaturated” with such services.

There will be more to follow I’m sure.


DHCD Real Estate Auction Highlight Reel (VIDEO)

The DHCD Real Estate Auction, hosted by Alex Cooper Auctioneers, was a very interesting experience (see earlier POST for the announcement). This was my first live auction and I must say the auctioneer had a command of the open ascending bid auction and the emotions of the audience. He seemed to know just when to count the bid down (“going once, twice..”) and when to keep calling (“150 bid now 60?”) to push the dollar amount up. Kudos to Alex Cooper.

Eleven properties were advertised for auction and ten were actually sold.  I unfortunately didn’t take note of each buildings closing price, but  here are the sold values I did capture.  Assessed values shown are from the DC Taxpayer Service Center website.

*Table for reference only. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Not an official record of winning bid prices. Not intended for use in purchase, sale or assessment decisions or for use in projecting appreciating or declining markets.

A few interesting stipulations related to the post-purchase procedure jumped out at me:

  1. A 5% premium is added to the “hammer” price.
  2. Within 60 days after the auction,  winners must provide proof of financing to cover both acquisition and development costs. (I’m curious to know what happens if you can’t.)
  3.  DCRA grants a 180 day grace period where auctioned properties are subject to their original tax code – to allow time to gain building permits.
  4. All auction properties must be fully developed within 18 months of closing.
  5. Developer must certify that improvements are designed in accordance with applicable laws related to persons with disabilities.

Congratulations to the winning bidders and I look forward to seeing the re-developed properties!

DC Real Estate Auction Tomorrow – Only Open to CBE’s & Non Profits

Are you a Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) in the District of Columbia? Tomorrow, 11/10/11 DC is auctioning 11 properties and the auction is only open to CBE and Non Profit entities. This is a fantastic opportunity to purchase real estate at a discounted price. If you’re business isn’t certified, events like this are reason enough to get certified (in my opinion).Visit Alex Cooper Auctions for details on attendance and the bidding process.

Hope to see you there!


Construction Opportunities in Jobs and Contracts

Marion Barrys office is holding a meet and greet with Chapman Development for CBE holders. Chapman is looking to develop a 188 unit apartment complex on Good Hope Road in SE and are seeking qualified individuals.

Want more information on Chapman? They are a real estate development company that focuses on the revitalization of emerging urban neighborhoods. Check out their website at for additional company details.

For more information on events at the councilmans office, contact Brenda Richardson at

Take an early lunch Monday – this one is important. Econ. Development in SE

If any of you reading this right now and you attended the ANC 8E monthly meeting earlier this week, the seminar Monday is the event the Mayor spoke about. For those of you that missed it – don’t worry – here’s your opportunity to attend a seminar FOCUSED on economic development East of the River.

Mayor Gray will be in Southeast this Monday, June 27 beginning at 10:00am at the Lumber Shed at Yards Park at 4th and Tingey St. SE.  Come hear what his plans are for economic development in our neighborhoods. It’s worth taking an early lunch. After all , it’s our future we’re talking about! Double click the image above for more details.





DC e-Bic Summer Class Schedule

Sitting in the Department of Small and Local Business Development and noticed the e-Bic summer schedule. There are a lot of great classes scheduled from now through July. Check it out!

– June 28 Starting a Home based business in DC
– July 7 The Business Planning Process, Lenders briefing & LSDBE Pre-Certification Orientation
– July 21 Cost Estimating for Construction Firms
– July 25 Secrets to Applying for a Business Loan

The e- Bic is located in the MLK Library at 901 G St. NW. Visit them online at

Let me know if you’d like further information on any of the listed courses.

Reverse Mortgage Seminar – Share this with your seniors!

This morning council member Barry’s office held a reverse mortgage seminar in his offices. The session was born out of the prevalence of these type of mortgages in Ward 8 and the complaints the council members office have received related to the like. Several members from HUD and DC Housing were in attendance.  Fantastic information came out of the session and if any readers or their family members are considering this, here’s an outline of what we learned to provide guidance. Please use the resources to do this the correct way.

  • A Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) will pay you money vs. you paying into a mortgage
  • HECM mortgage never has to be repaid by the individual whose name it’s in. The mortgage is paid back in two instances:(1) the person moves from the home and sells it. (2) The person dies and the estate pays back the mortgage. If there is a deficiency, then the lender has the right to go back to the FHA to get paid – from the property insurance on the loan.
  • HECM mortgages accru interest.

DC Housing Counseling is the only FHA approved service for reverse mortgages in the city. HUD housing counseling services are  equipped to provide resources for HECM and other housing related products. Here’s how the process should work:

  1. Senior decides they may want a HECM mortgage.
  2. Schedule an appointment with a certified housing counselor.
  3. Senior communicates with the counselor. Information shared will include: what you are trying to get out of the mortgage, needs and circumstances etc.
  4. Participate in counseling sessions.
  5. Get a certificate of completion.
  6. Follow-up – counselors will follow up and provide any additional assistance.

The options they provide ONLY apply to FHA mortgages. If the HECM is done on a conventional mortgage – legal entities will have to get involved to settle disputes.

Need more information? Contact Housing Counseling Services at:

2410 17th St. NW Ste 100

Ph: 202-667-7006 or  202-275-9200