By David Bowers, Enterprise VP and Market Leader, Mid-Atlantic
@the horizon An Enterprise blog about affordable housing and community development
Last week, we celebrated the groundbreaking for Monseñor Romero apartments, a building that will soon provide affordable homes for 63 families in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The building burned down in a five-alarm blaze in 2008. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt. Enterprise provided $12 million in Housing Credits to help our partner, the National Housing Trust/Enterprise Preservation Corporation, redevelop it.
I noticed a small boy quietly moving rocks from a tree bed to the street. After a while, he looked back on his work and then proceeded to return the rocks back to the tree bed. I’m not sure whether he was playing or cleaning, but he was certainly building something.
The young boy was right in front of the Mayor and Councilmember. At one point, Mayor Gray noticed the boy, smiled at him and leaned over to speak to him. The boy the handed him one of his rocks.
I was particularly moved by the remarks of Yasmin Romero-Latin, President of the 3145 Mount Pleasant Street Tenants Association. She noted that before the fire, the former owner had treated the residents “like animals,” with code violations an all too common daily reality for the residents. They believed the owner wanted them to move out and convert the building to market-rate condos.
To me, this groundbreaking was a moment of inspiration, a reminder of why we do what we do. More than three decades after Mr. Rouse helped preserve the Mozart and the Ritz for low-income District residents, the spirit of Enterprise is as strong as ever, and we continue to fight for families across the country. I’m truly proud and blessed to be a part of that effort.
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