Andre Thomas, a District of Columbia Housing Authority customer, has been working for more than a year to put himself in the position of buying his own home. The Army veteran used services from DCHA, the city’s Office of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Veterans Administration to train and employ him, kept himself off the streets with transitional housing at McDermott House, used a voucher to secure permanent housing, and took advantage of various homeownership programs offered by DCHA to improve his credit, among other things.

“I mean this is like a rags to riches story for me. One time I have hardly nothing and going through bad spots,” Thomas, 58, said. “Then I was going through different programs to get furniture, another one for employment…Being a veteran is a great thing because it gives you certain priorities when it comes to employment,” he said as an example.

Now he is waiting to close on a new home in Northeast.

“I haven’t got my key yet, but so far it is working,” Thomas, 58, said of the programs.

DCHA, along with the District of Columbia, the D.C. Interagency Council for Homelessness, Veterans NOW, and D.C. Office of Veterans Affairs, among others, are holding an Appreciation Day on Tuesday, November 10 at 9 a.m. that will bring services like the ones Thomas used plus many more to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

“In addition to helping create new affordable housing opportunities for veterans in the District, DCHA is working to help veterans stay housed and improve their quality of life,” said DCHA Executive Director Adrianne Todman.

The annual event hosted by DCHA offers veterans information on assistance for housing, rent, bills, and moving costs, employment, health benefits, and other supportive services. Last year’s event garnered some 500 participants.

The partnership is also hosting a landlord “meet and lease up,” with pre-inspected units ready for eligible veterans to tour and possibly begin to rent that very day.

Since 2008, DCHA has awarded 1,035 VASH, or Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing, program vouchers, a $21 million subsidy value. As part of that, DCHA is providing the subsidy for the new 124-unit John and Jill Ker Conway Residence in the NoMa neighborhood of Washington, D.C. DCHA secured 60 Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) and 17 Local Rent Supplement Program vouchers for the $33 million building that will be located at 1005 North Capitol Street, N.E.

In addition to the increased vouchers, DCHA also helped to open a community center within one of it affordable housing sites which houses female veterans, Fendall Heights; held an annual job and housing fair; and regular Meet and Lease events.  

Last modified: 11/9/2015 4:02:01 PM