Formerly homeless veterans have a new place to call home in Washington, D.C.’s NoMa neighborhood.
Completed at the end of 2016, the John and Jill Ker Conway Residence includes 60 units of permanent supportive housing for veterans leaving homelessness, 47 units for individual households earning no more than 60% of the area median income (AMI), and 17 units for residents earning no more than 30% of the AMI.
Nationwide developer McCormack Baron Salazar and nonprofit Community Solutions partnered on the 14-story building, along with the help of other public and private-sector organizations.
The mixed-income building is one of the first of its kind in the nation to have full-time, on-site Veterans Affairs (VA) case managers to help residents with their health, employment, and mental health needs. In addition, the District of Columbia Housing Authority provided Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing subsidies for the veteran households.
“I think this really highlights the need for more programs that focus on housing and human services. The partnerships that are created by agencies in the public sector with for-profits and nonprofits create impactful projects,” says Vince Bennett, president of McCormack Baron Salazar. “If there’s a will, we can come together and solve complicated and complex problems like veteran homelessness. It’s really showing that housing plus on-site services are key.”
The development also is another example of how the District of Columbia continues to make a dent in the number of homeless veterans.
“I’m proud to announce to you today that since beginning the push to end veteran homelessness in the District four years ago—nearly 1,800 veterans have been housed, with 764 veterans housed in 2015 and 463 placed into permanent housing in 2016,” said mayor Muriel Bowser at the grand opening in January.
The iconic building was designed by internationally renowned architecture firm Sorg Architects. Its silvery white metal paneling and stacked blocks create a complementary contrast with adjacent buildings in the neighborhood. It meets Enterprise Green Communities standards and features sustainable building materials. It also includes all of the amenities that a high-quality residential apartment building would have, such as community rooms, meeting areas, and a fitness center.
“We not only wanted to develop an iconic building, but also a place that was comfortable and that households could call home,” says Bennett.
The $33 million development was financed with 4% low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs), tax-exempt bonds, and HOME funds provided through the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development as well as support from the D.C. Housing Finance Agency and D.C. Department of General Services. The LIHTC equity was provided by syndicator RBC Capital Markets with JPMorgan Chase as the investor. Additional private-sector financing included Citi Community Development and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh. Philanthropic support included The Home Depot Foundation, the William S. Abell Foundation, and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.
McCormack Baron Management is serving as the property manager, while GCS-SIGAL was the general contractor.
The development is named after Jill Ker Conway, who has had a lifelong concern for veterans, and her late husband, John, a World War II veteran. Jill is a Pulitzer Prize–nominated memoirist, Harvard-trained historian, and former chair of Community Solutions’ board of directors.