Barry Farm residents were able to shop for new homes and new opportunities for themselves and their families at a recent Meet and Lease event catered just for them—several were able to sign leases on the spot.

Candace Dodds was one of those individuals.

“I’m very excited,” said Dodds, who is moving to a community in Northeast. “It was kind of hard finding a place, but I finally found one. I’m ready. My kids are ready.”

Households in Barry Farm have been looking for new homes as part of the relocation phase of the community’s redevelopment. The Barry Farm community, originally built in 1949 to house military families, is slated to become a new mixed-income community of up to 1,400 units, including the complete replacement of all of the affordable housing. Families began relocating from the site in 2017 to either other public housing apartments owned by DCHA, to privately-owned homes where rents are subsidized by housing vouchers provided by DCHA; or by taking advantage of a homeownership program managed by DCHA. Families will be able to return to the redeveloped site.

DCHA has held Meet and Lease event in the past for veterans and other voucher customers, but the event on March 23 was the first for a redevelopment. Meet and Lease events allow prospective tenants to shop for available apartments and houses from landlords, property managers, and leasing agents. Many of the units are pre-inspected so if a tenant and landlord agree on rental terms, they can sign a lease that very day.  

In addition, Housing Opportunities Unlimited, a company hired by the city to assist with the relocation of Barry Farm residents, is providing security deposit and application fee assistance.

“I wasn’t sure it was going to happen today, but I knew it was coming quick,” said Carol Leggett, who signed her lease at the event. “I have a new place to start over.”

Her new landlord, Ehigiator Akhigbe, said he liked being able to speak to Leggett and meet her family.

“Here we are able to see everybody, landlords, tenants, and workers who coordinate. We are able to see who we are dealing with, one on one,” Akhigbe said. “Normally we are calling or sending emails. This is better.”

“I think they [Meet and Lease events] are very helpful as far as getting information out to residents,” said Shequetta Patterson, owner of Patterson and Hoffman Property Management Services LLC.

Patterson, who has participated in veterans Meet and Lease events in the past, said she has worked with companies that waive application fees and work with applicants on security deposits to help them secure new homes.

“I want to help build stability for people,” Patterson said.

Christina Plummer, a property manager for Solid Properties, said that she participates in Meet and Lease events because “Our company wants to bring more sustainable affordable housing to the workforce in D.C.”

“It seems beneficial to both landlords and tenants. Our units have been pre-inspected, so if anyone can sign a lease, they can move in on Monday,” said Indie Gross, a leasing agent for Lynn Property Management.

A total of 12 Barry Farm residents were able to sign leases at the Meet and Lease event and another two households found units and are awaiting the results of their inspections. 

Candace Dodds is congratulated on her new home by HCVP Director Ronald McCoy, who gave her a bucket full of household supplies as a gift.
A family discusses a four-bedroom home with the landlord.
Jeannee Woodson signs the lease to her new home at the event.
Last modified: 3/27/2018 3:34:34 PM