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D.C. gets its first-ever affordable housing site with specific units for ‘grandfamilies’

The project is centrally located in Mount Vernon Triangle

A rendering of Plaza West, at 307 K St. NW
D.C. government

On Thursday, the District and developers opened the inaugural affordable housing project in the city to contain apartments designated for “grandfamilies,” or households headed by grandparents who are raising grandchildren. Plaza West, as the project is known, is located at 307 K St. NW in the burgeoning Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood and has 223 units.

Fifty of the units are being set aside for grandfamilies who earn between 30 and 40 percent of the area median income (AMI), or between $35,000 and $47,000 a year for a four-person household. The remaining 173 units will house families making between 50 and 60 percent of the AMI, or between $58,000 and $71,000 a year for households with four people.

The apartments at Plaza West range in size from studios to three-bedrooms. The ones for grandfamilies will be two- and three-bedrooms that have their own entrance at 1035 4th St. NW, according to nonprofit Mission First Housing Group, one of the project’s developers. A team consisting of Mission First, the Henson Development Co., and Golden Rule Plaza, Inc., an affiliate of Mount Vernon Triangle’s Bible Way Church, developed the project. Eleven of the units will house people who receive services from D.C.’s behavioral health department.

When officials broke ground on the project in 2016, they said they based the grandfamilies model on a community in New York that they had seen. At 12 stories, Plaza West has more than 9,500 square feet of outdoor space as well as a library, an activity space for children, a fitness room, and a community room. It is near transit and various neighborhood amenities.

The project has been in the works for years, with the District having transferred the land to the affiliate of Bible Way Church in 2005, according to the office of the D.C. Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. Mission First says it cost $90 million to develop.