The $90 million Conway Center will be the first development to bring together affordable housing, job training, and health care under one roof in Washington, D.C.
So Others Might Eat (SOME), a faith-based community organization that helps the poor and homeless, broke ground on the ambitious project today.
When completed, the development will include 202 affordable apartments, a state-of-the-art health center that will serve approximately 15,000 patients each year, and a job-training center operated by SOME. There will also be shops, offices, and green space. The site is located across from the Benning Road metro station, making it easy for residents to get to jobs and services and for patients from across the city to get to the health center.
The housing will provide affordable homes for 30 families and 172 single adults.
SOME drew on its nearly five decades of experience to assemble a complex mix of public and private funding, including nearly $34 million from the Healthy Futures Fund (HFF). A partnership of The Kresge Foundation, Morgan Stanley, and the Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC), HFF was created to finance projects that connect affordable housing to quality health care.
HFF leveraged low-income housing tax credits to invest $20.4 million in the development’s residential component. It tapped another $13.5 million in New Markets Tax Credits for the health center, which will be operated by Unity Health Care. Additional grant dollars are expected to help SOME with programming and local outreach efforts around health.
The Conway Center is the HFF’s single largest investment to date and the first time the fund has used both housing capital and its health center capital in the same project.
“The Conway Center is in many ways a blueprint for the kind of inventive economic development that meets a range of local needs,” said Emily Chen, LISC program director for HFF, in a statement. “The effort recognizes how much ‘place’ matters, with housing and health services in close proximity to each other and to public transit so residents can take advantage of them. And, it gathers partners that have a shared focus—to improve health outcomes for people struggling with the deep challenges of poverty.”
To date, HFF has committed $100 million to help develop housing and health centers across the country, as well as fund services that connect the two for low-income people. It combines grants, loans, and equity investments, giving fund partners the chance to make social investments with a broad reach.
"Taking a holistic approach when addressing community needs is essential to creating vibrant neighborhoods,” said Audrey Choi, CEO of the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing and head of Global Sustainable Finance. “By combining affordable housing and health care, The Conway Center is a prime example of the type of forward-thinking community development that Morgan Stanley seeks to catalyze.”
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, the D.C. Housing Finance Agency, the D.C. Housing Authority, and the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development are also helping to finance the project.
National Equity Fund, Citibank, City First Bank, D.C. Housing Enterprises, Northmarq,
and U.S. Bank are also providing support and financing.