Home is at the Heart of D.C.’s Ward 8
Bishop C. Matthew Hudson, Jr., of Matthews Memorial Baptist Church in Southeast Washington, D.C., sees nothing but an inspired portrait of possibilities when he gazes upon Matthews Memorial Terrace, a new affordable housing development for seniors and low income families in Ward 8, Washington, D.C.'s most economically challenged neighborhood.
The newly constructed 99-unit apartment building sits on the land owned by the Church. Hudson has been casting the nearly two-decade old vision since he arrived at the church as the new Pastor in January, 2006. His determination to see this vision to come to fruition was fueled in part by his late grandfather, John Matthew Hudson, a master builder who built the largest African-American Baptist Church in the community in which he was reared.
"Our Seniors are losing so much-mobility, friends, spouse, jobs," says Bishop Hudson. “Whatever they can hang onto, they hang onto. In our community and in our culture, their faith community is often all they have as they get older. So Matthews Memorial has always had a vision to build senior housing."
The Church sought a partnership with The Community Builders, a well- regarded and experienced non-profit affordable housing development corporation, to joint venture with Creative Opportunities Ventures, Inc., (COVI), a newly formed developer partner leadership company, to build this project with the understanding that the Church would maintain ownership of the land while the tax credit investors are repaid. While this partnership deviated from traditional development practices, Bishop Hudson wanted to be certain that this land purchased with the money contributed by faithful and dedicated members of the Church would always be used for the benefit of the people of the Ward 8 community.
A Dream Becomes a Reality
The $22 million development was made possible through a collaboration of public and private partners and financing that leveraged tax credits for affordable housing provided by federal law. Capital One provided $17 million through tax-exempt bonds and 4 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credit issued by the District of Columbia Housing Finance Authority. The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and the District of Columbia Housing Authority provided loans and a grant to complete the deal.
Matthews Memorial Terrace offers modern, affordable and eco-friendly housing to 32 families headed by senior citizens and 67 low-income families. Ground floor and terrace-level apartments are reserved for seniors. The building meets the latest environmental standards with Energy-Star rated appliances and HVAC system as well as the requirements for a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Silver Certificate.
For a Community, More than Just Homes
In keeping with Bishop Hudson’s vision of using the building as a Ward 8 gathering place, the Terrace includes both a meeting room and community room. The Church also operates a highly regarded accredited Child Development Center, a senior day care center and a family mentoring program on healthy living and wellness.
As a part of Bishop Hudson's vision, there are plans to expand the Child Development Center, possibly build an Urgent Care facility along with a Social Service Center. This vision for the Ward 8 community calls for a holistic response that addresses the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of its people.
He is extremely grateful to Capital One for helping to bring this part of his vision to fruition. “Capital One dared to take the leap of faith because they saw a good project,’’ he says. “They came in and defined by demonstration of faith, which is the audacity or guts to risk something valuable in pursuit of an idea you can’t prove. The idea that seemingly could not be proven was that we could build affordable housing in a community that was economically challenged.”
Investing in Matthews Memorial Terrace was part of Capital One’s ongoing commitment to investing in affordable housing throughout the MidAtlantic region. In 2011, Capital One provided more than $195.7 million in specialized financing for affordable housing in the region.
“We are proud to help make the dream of this development a reality for the people of Southeast Washington, D.C., and support the community in these important steps toward neighborhood transformation and revitalization,” said Ed Delany, Senior Vice President, Community Development Finance, Capital One Bank. "
The Bishop is excited about the opportunities that the individuals and families living in Matthews Memorial Terrace will have going forward. “People can see a bright future when they have a community that is alive,” he says.
Increased access to quality affordable housing not only helps individuals and families gain greater stability, but it also creates jobs and strengthens the entire community. — Bishop Hudson