At our Coming Home Breakfast last month, a resident shared his experience living in Jubilee Housing. Mr. Bazemore described how Jubilee felt like a safe zone – after spending years incarcerated, and years before that fighting into and out of his own home, it was strange to walk out his front door and see his neighbors with yoga mats and wearing flip-flops. He said he no longer had to carry a gun to feel safe.
That’s one kind of fear. Another kind is what Ms. Lemus felt, living in a two-bedroom apartment with six people. She and her baby could barely afford that overcrowded apartment, and were constantly afraid management would find out and evict them all. Now she’s at Jubilee and has privacy, security, and freedom.
A third kind of fear comes from the inside. Fear that a problem is too big, or that we’re not able to make a difference. Or that a solution should be anywhere else, just not our neighborhood.
As a society, we are in touch with many forms of fear. What we do in the face of fear says a lot about who we are as a people. My faith tradition reminds me, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.”
In the midst of such fears, Jubilee is going to build and renovate 125 new deeply affordable homes in four sites in our core neighborhood. Seventy-five will be home for families like Ms. Lemus, in sparkling new 2-, 3-, and even 4-bedroom units in the heart of Adams Morgan.
Fifty of these units will be dedicated for women and men returning home after incarceration like Mr. Bazemore. Some will be for people in the first few months after their release, and some will be long-term homes just like any other household.
Our city is in an affordable housing crisis. Instead of shrinking in fear, we are opening our hearts with love and letting our passion for justice meet the deep pain our community is facing. This justice housing modelis love in action: we partner with households facing the greatest barriers, in places of greatest opportunity, with the supports needed to thrive. Whoever they might be.
Everything begins with housing. The wounds of history are deep, and cannot begin to heal until we recognize that place matters, that justice and equality are lived out in bricks and mortar and access to good schools, good grocery stores, good jobs, and so much more.
A city built on justice housing creates justice through housing.
We invite your gifts of time, talent and treasure to join us in building this city together. The next few years will be challenging and our work will face substantial pressure to change direction.
There is a lot of fear to overcome.
President & CEO