This past Friday, THC celebrated the opening of its new Weinberg Commons location in Southeast DC. Years of development, planning and construction culminated when Mayor Muriel Bowser cut the ceremonial ribbon, ushering in a new era of permanent and affordable housing and sustainability in the city.
The event was attended by many other familiar faces, including Director of Department of Human Services Laura Zeilinger, Director of Department of Behavioral Health Tanya Royster, and former THC CEO and now Director of Housing and Community Development Polly Donaldson.
The 36-unit property for low-income families and families experiencing homelessness is incredibly energy efficient and is the first multifamily retrofit Passive House project in the country. This term refers to the sustainable, green architecture approach used in its construction and retrofitting. The units are extremely well-insulated and heated by passive solar gains allowing ultra-low energy use; tenants pay next-to-nothing for utility bills.
Of the 36 units, 24 will be for low-income families at rents less than $1,000 a month, and the other 12 will provide permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless families. All 36 units have two bedrooms and one bathroom. The apartments have been filled and almost all of the tenants have moved in! Many were present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and were able to share in the celebration. One resident, who was unable to attend due to a prior work engagement, left a note for her case manager to be shared at the event. It was both touching and powerful, and reads as follows:
“Before I was at Weinberg, I was staying with family and friends, and bouncing from hotel to hotel. At the time, I was finishing a job training program, starting a new job, and trying to raise my son. The added stress of staying with a lot of people and not knowing where I was going to stay was overwhelming and depressing. When I found out I was approved for Weinberg, I was overcome with an incredible feeling. It felt as though I had been holding my breath for years, and I now I could finally breathe. Now that I have a safe and secure home at Weinberg Commons, I can focus all my strength and energy on taking care of my son and furthering my education so that I can find a job in which I can help and inspire others. I would like to thank the Transitional Housing Corporation and Inner City Family Services for all their support.”