The roots and branches of Wesley Housing extend far into the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area with upcoming projects in the city, Arlington, and several areas of Alexandria. The organization’s reach and impact will continue to grow with four new projects planned to help address the critical need for affordable housing in the region. Recognized for outstanding achievement by the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers, Wesley Housing is leading the industry in the creation of responsive and effective strategies that meet the needs of their communities.
Estimates indicate that people in the DMV area need more than 320,000 housing units by 2030 to sustain population and employment growth. Rising housing costs and stagnant wages have created an unsustainable gap. Wesley Housing community members typically earn, on average, an annual household income of $36,741. Residents include the following groups:
- 30% are children,
- 87% are Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, African American, or West/East African; and
- 26% are older adults and/or individuals with disabilities.
The cost of living in and around Washington, DC far exceeds the average annual income of community members and is estimated at $65,169 per year. It ranks the highest in the country apart from Hawaii. The lack of affordable housing in the Capital Region is a systemic issue undermining equitable representation in government and affecting a host of other societal issues. To date, Wesley Housing has provided 2,800 housing units to over 4,000 residents.
Seeking high-impact organizations with mission alignment, Virginia Community Capital (VCC) teamed up with Wesley Housing to design a partnership that would enable the development of four properties:
- One Hawaii Avenue in the Fort Totten neighborhood of Washington, DC,
- First Christian Church senior living facility in Falls Church, VA,
- ParcView II in the Landmark neighborhood of Alexandria, VA, and
- Parc Square in the Arlandria-Chirilagua neighborhood of Alexandria, VA.
The properties will soon expand affordable options with an estimated 362 homes becoming available over the next several years.
Challenges and Strategies
As a large and established organization, Wesley Housing is experienced in the place-specific intricacies of large-scale projects. Real estate development laws and regulations present challenges within each municipality. Knowledge of special use permits, housing tax credit programs, and an array of other details are all necessary. Patience and diligence are key elements of success.
The depth of experience on both sides along with a well-established relationship between the two organizations led to full confidence from the lending and underwriting teams at VCC. To support Wesley Housing’s vision for growth and housing affordability, VCC held impact as a top priority.
- A creative capital stack collateralized by a pool of various assets
- Increased housing affordability in Virginia and Washington, DC
- Increased opportunities for partnership within the housing sector
- Increased trust between stakeholders: Wesley Housing, VCC, impact banking partners, and community organizations