It's considered the American dream, but for some families the opportunity to buy a home never comes. A new D.C. housing program is helping local families go green and become homeowners.
A new home in southeast D.C. is a dream come true for 31-year-old Lee Jones, who has the sole responsibility of taking care of her two children, two brothers and her mother. Two months ago, she moved out of her public assistance unit in Southwest and into a newly renovated five bedroom, two bathroom house that’s also part of D.C.’s public assistance program.
“So we’ve always utilized the public housing system. However, I’ve always worked, always been in school, and once you get on each level, sometimes you just need a boost to get to that next level,” Jones said.
She is getting that boost thanks to $1.7 million in federal stimulus money. D.C. used that to fix up Elvans Court in Ward 8. As part of the program a portion of her monthly rent gets put into an escrow account. After maintaining this home for multiple years, she can then use that money as a down payment for a new house.
“It says that we are going to create economically diverse housing in this city so that every family, every child, will have a reasonable chance of achieving the American dream,” Mayor Vincent Gray said. “Get an education, get a job, and enjoy the good life.”
There’s another bonus: The public housing complex is eco-friendly.
To reduce the carbon footprint, the homes were made with recyclable materials from the roof tiles to the siding to the wood floors. Something else that also stands out are the Low-Ee windows, which help keep heat in during the winter. All throughout the house there are also energy star appliances.
“The public housing can work for you in a positive way where it can become art of your journey, not the end of your journey,” Jones said.