D.C.’s first affordable housing complex is now a reality. Officials on Thursday unveiled the complex which will include housing units specifically for “grand families,” or families headed by grandparents caring for their grandchildren.
Known as Plaza West, the site is at 1035 4th Street, NW and 307 K Street, NW, in the Mount Vernon neighborhood. The complex has 12 stories and 223 units, with 50 units reserved for families headed by grandparents, making between 30 and 40 percent of the area median income, and the other 173 units reserved for families not necessarily headed by grandparents. Clients of the Department of Behavioral Health will get 11 units.
#GrandOpening – Design becomes reality, the Plaza West Grand Families development is officially open! SEDC’s engineers provided #geotech design for this DC, first-of-its-kind affordable housing project back in 2014. Read more about it at: https://t.co/3f9N86Clew pic.twitter.com/YChHmgoHbn
— SEDC (@SEDC_SchnabelDC) September 20, 2018
The idea for the “grand families” units came from a similar concept in New York, according to a Washington City Paper report.
A press release from the mayor’s office said the complex will include 9,500 square feet of outdoor recreational space, a library, a fitness room, and a community room. The 50 grand family units will have two or three bedrooms and their own entrance at 1035 4th Street NW, according to Columbus Property Management that maintains the property.
In the recent years the opioid epidemic has led to a national spike in the number of children being raised by their grandparents, while in D.C., about 1,000 families headed by grandparents need subsidized housing, the Washington Post report said.
“This is as big a problem as homelessness or anything else we’re facing right now. I’m hoping we can be a model, and we can begin to address what I think is a major issue moving forward,” Daniel Henson, one of the developers, told the Post in 2016.