Maycroft resident Phil Brooks spoke in support of justice housing and D.C.’s Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF) at an event with Mayor Muriel Bowser on October 2, 2017. Brooks also introduced Mayor Bowser at the R.L. Christian groundbreaking, which celebrated record D.C. investments in affordable housing.
Brooks lives temporarily in Jubilee’s Ritz building while Jubilee renovates the Maycroft. He spoke about the critical importance of building such as the Ritz and the Maycroft to “those who have dreams, those who have kids, and others who can’t afford to pay the high rents in the D.C.” He said moving into the Maycroft, where he pays one-third of his income in rent, enabled him “to look at how I could do more in my life.”
Now Brooks goes to the Academy of Hope adult education school, where he is pursuing his diploma so he can get certified to counsel young people. He also volunteers every day at Joseph’s House, a home for men and women who have experienced homelessness and are challenged with serious illnesses such as cancer and HIV. And, he serves as co-leader of the Maycroft’s 1474 Unbreakable Tenants Association.
Brooks says he is proud and happy to live in Columbia Heights, where he has safe, easy access to opportunities that have helped him stabilize his life and to services we all need every day—transportation, grocery stores, a post office.
Funding from the HPTF helped Jubilee renovate the Maycroft and preserve it as the justice housing Brooks described—housing affordable to those with few financial resources, in neighborhoods with resources we all need, close to programs that enable all of us to thrive.
At the event, Mayor Bowser highlighted more than $138 million in investments from the HPTF in fiscal year 2017. Those investments support 23 projects that will preserve or produce more than 1,900 affordable units across the city. Since taking office, Mayor Bowser’s administration has committed more than $100 million annually to affordable housing and sparked the creation or preservation of more than 84,000 units affordable to families with the lowest incomes.
“As our city continues to grow and prosper, my administration will remain laser-focused on ensuring residents of all backgrounds and income levels have access to safe and affordable places to live in all eight wards,” Mayor Bowser said at the groundbreaking.
Commenting on Mayor Bowser’s track record on affordable housing, Jubilee Housing Executive Director Jim Knight said, “We applaud the mayor for the degree to which affordable housing is an enduring and meaningful part of her platform. She and Polly Donaldson, director of D.C.’s Department of Housing and Community Development, have raised the bar on what is possible for our city.”
“And it has never been more urgent,” he added. “We are still losing ground. Escalating housing costs continue to displace many longtime D.C. residents. It’s imperative that we do more, now, because it’s almost too late to maintain the equity of many District neighborhoods.”
Knight said Jubilee Housing is working on an effort that will add to the funding available for justice housing in the District in the future.