What is justice housing™?
Justice housing is deeply affordable housing, with nearby services, located in thriving neighborhoods.
As the city has grown, it has become increasingly more difficult for longtime residents to stay in their communities, or for low-income residents to move into newly thriving neighborhoods, cutting them off from the District’s rising prosperity.
In response, Jubilee’s work has shifted to focus on connecting people to the city’s prosperity through high-quality, deeply affordable homes, with easy access to programs and services, in thriving neighborhoods. This is justice housing.
Jubilee provides deeply affordable housing, as opposed to “affordable housing,” as a way to highlight the very-low income residents served. Two-thirds of our units are dedicated to residents earning less than or equal to 30% of the Area Median Income (AMI), or just $34,000 for a family of four. Almost all households earn less than or equal to 60% AMI.
This is in contrast to “affordable housing,” which as defined by HUD extends all the way to 80% AMI. This includes individuals making up to $65,000. While there is a need for affordable housing at every level, over 60% of residents at or below 30% AMI spend more than half of their income on rent.
This is a community that faces significant barriers to living in DC, and includes households exiting homelessness, workers earning minimum wage, seniors and persons with disabilities living on fixed incomes, and many more.
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Individuals and households who qualify for deeply affordable housing often face multiple barriers to thriving besides housing. This can include a lack of knowledge around financial tools, below grade level performance for students, unaddressed medical issues, and a need for quality child care while adults are working.
Responding to this need, Jubilee both provides and works with partner nonprofits to offer supportive services to residents in and around its properties. As often as possible, Jubilee locates services within the properties themselves, allowing a resident to drop their child off at an early learning center or afterschool program exactly where they live. Regardless, Jubilee coordinates comprehensive services for residents within a walkable area, ensuring that residents don’t miss out on opportunities because they are inaccessible.
These services help residents to leverage their deeply affordable rent and the resources located around them into opportunities to thrive.
Place matters. Recent research by Raj Chetty and others show that zip code is the single highest predictor of future success. Families with low-incomes who live in resource rich neighborhoods have better future earnings and rely less on government support than comparable families in predominantly low-income neighborhoods.
Justice Housing fosters equity and inclusivity in the face of market forces that are forcing sweeping changes throughout DC. In a city that is growing and attracting new residents, there seem to be two different tracks for people. Many are connected to a wave of investment and development that is leading to new levels of abundance and prosperity. At the same time, many are essentially cut off from the growth, and pushed increasingly to the margins.
Our work is about closing these gaps so everyone can thrive. When we see justice housing in every neighborhood of our city, that will be the first step in realizing one, unified city where every resident no matter their income, race, history of incarceration, or background has an equal opportunity to thrive.