Investing in Justice

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As Jubilee Housing has fought to address D.C.’s growing inequity through creating more justice housing SM, the organization’s efforts have been hampered by the increasing pace and number of properties being purchased for conversion to market-rate rentals or condos. To overcome this trend, Jubilee recently launched the Justice Housing Partners Fund , which will provide quick-strike acquisition capital for bridge financing, enabling Jubilee to better compete against market forces.

Already, the Share Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, has led the way with a $1 million match investment, which has inspired institutional investors. United Bank, for example, has committed $250,000, and, to date, Jubilee Housing has raised more than $2 million in commitments.

Creating the Fund is the first tactic for delivering Goal 2 in “Justice Housing in Action,” Jubilee’s five-year plan for justice housing (see the lead story in this newsletter). Goal 2 calls for Jubilee to increase the number of justice housing properties in Jubilee’s portfolio by 30 percent.

Jubilee will use the $5 million it raises through investments in the Fund to purchase three or four properties that can become future justice housing communities. Justice housing is deeply affordable, coupled with onsite or nearby opportunities that can help residents live successful lives, and located in resource-rich neighborhoods like Jubilee’s core communities of Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, and Mount Pleasant. Jubilee already has the first two new properties under contract.

These areas’ proximity to good schools, public transportation, grocery stores, and banks have led to rapid gentrification and real estate value escalation. They are now among the most competitive markets in the city, with developers making all-cash offers for properties and foregoing contingencies as well as due diligence.

Consequently, D.C. residents with few assets are being left out of the city’s growing prosperity, as they are forced from their homes and into concentrated areas that lack the resources and opportunities we all need to thrive. Yet research demonstrates that those who remain in or relocate to a resource-rich community experience increasingly better employment and wage outcomes as well as decreases in the likelihood of needing government programs, such as TANF.

Under the Justice Housing Partners Fund model, a two- to three-year investment leverages permanent financing that yields a social return for multiple generations of Washingtonians with very low incomes. Jubilee’s 45 years of experience providing affordable homes and services in its core neighborhoods and track record of zero defaults or losses for investors makes the Fund is a winning proposition all around.

In making more justice housing a reality, Jubilee is bridging the prosperity gap in D.C. For more information on how you or someone you know can invest in the future of our city and its residents, contact Rebecca Ely at rely@jubileehousing.org. This Fund will create returns from which we all benefit.

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