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In 1997, DCHA was awarded a $20.3 million HOPE VI grant to redevelop the largely vacant and uninhabitable, 312-unit Valley Green public housing development and Skytower, a 91-unit, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-foreclosed property acquired by DCHA. The new community, called Wheeler Creek Estates, represented a remarkable transformation that by 2000 was awarded the “HUD Best Practices Award.”  

 

Since that time, the project has been recognized as one of the nation’s best, winning the 2001 “Innovations in Government Award,” sponsored by the Ford Foundation and Harvard University; the “2002 Best in American Living Design award;” the 2002 “HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence;” and the 2002 “National Association of Homebuilders Award.”
 
 
These achievements were the result of unique public-private partnerships that brought together a variety of resources to ensure success: public housing funds, low-income housing tax credits and a property disposition grant from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), to total approximately $54 million. The redevelopment team was also a collaborative effort comprising residents, DCHA and a joint venture of A&R Development Corporation and the Enterprise Social Investment Corporation (ESIC).
 
 
Mixed Income Development
Today Wheeker Creek is a 314-unit development consisting of 48 low-income family rental homes and a 100-unit senior rental building that includes a community room with kitchen facilities, library, pool and an exercise room. There are also 32 market-rate rental units, 30 "lease to purchase" units and 104 homes for purchase. In fact, Wheeler Creek currently boasts the largest percentage of home ownership units in any completed HOPE VI site nationwide, with 104 units owned by residents, including 47 former public housing residents or Housing Choice Voucher Program participants. In addition, a 13,000 square foot community building and a daycare center support the needs of residents. 
 

Resident Leadership
Residents play an important role in the life of the community through the Wheeler Creek Community Development Corporation (CDC). Originally formed by Valley Green/Skytower residents as part of the HOPE VI planning process, the CDC has since established an on-site business employment agency, Home Buyers Club and Business Training/Family Development/Drug Treatment programs, all funded through more than $1 million in non-HOPE VI sources secured by the CDC. 
 
Employment services provided by the Wheeler Creek CDC have resulted in the employment of 65 public housing residents in construction-related activity. In all, the Wheeler Creek project has resulted in individual career employment assessment and skills training for 130 residents and full-time, living-wage employment for 80 people. The CDC continues to provide technical assistance to resident organizations participating in HOPE VI projects in other communities who wish to emulate the success of the Wheeler Creek CDC.
Last modified: 12/22/2014 9:15:12 PM