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Habitat for Humanity partners with developer to bring 12 new homes to D.C.'s Ivy City

This latest project will result in 12 new housing units, each of them accommodating large families with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. (Photo, ABC7)

Advocates for affordable housing are celebrating a new project in D.C.'S Ivy City neighborhood.

They call the project "groundbreaking” because of a unique collaboration between Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. and a private development firm.

The non-profit has already built or rehabilitated nearly 30 homes in Ivy City.

D.C. Habitat President & CEO Susanne Slater said, “And over the six years we've been working [in Ivy City], it's been a dramatic increase in safety, school achievement and every other measure in census track.”

This latest project will result in 12 new housing units, each of them accommodating large families with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

“There isn't anything else like it right now available at 50 percent area median income,” Slater said.

To complete their so-called “sweat equity hours,” Habitat clients in units across the street will help with the construction.

Level 2 Development has provided Habitat more than $1 million for this project.

It is a unique partnership, part of the public benefits package for Level 2’s Highline at Union Market apartment building.

That 317-unit building will replace an empty Burger King on Florida Avenue NE. It will also include affordable rental units, but developer David Franco said he pursued this Habitat project to help families become homeowners.

“A lot of developers want to do the minimum and it's just a box they check off. But to truly provide a benefit to the community, you've got to dig down deep into the community to find out what they need and how to help them,” Franco said.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said, “We know the government can do a lot, but if we can leverage the $100 million that we invest [in D.C.’s Housing Production Trust Fund] with private sources and philathropic sources, we can do even more.”

The owners of the new Habitat homes will be selected through a lottery at the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development.

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