To fulfill its mission of creating, preserving affordable housing in the District, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) opened three housing facilities recently. The SeVerna, Artspace and Milestone Russell each unique to the revitalization of underserved communities are one of many affordable housing projects.

“These projects are part of the District’s overall efforts to improve housing , spur economic development and support Mayor Gray’s ‘One City’ vision,” said John E. Hall, DHCD director.

Coming out of the Third Street Tunnel, the skyline opens up to new commercial and housing development and well-kept dwellings. In 1973, Bible Way Church erected Golden Rule, its first 184-unit affordable housing facility. In 2008, the project-based Section 8 was completely renovated.

In 2003, the church continued its mission by developing. The Golden Rule Plaza for seniors, tax credit by income, a 119-unit structure. After Temple and Golden Rule Courts were demolished in 2007, the SeVerna began development to replace housing for those former tenants. It opened this November.

Named after Bishop Smallwood E. Williams and his wife, Verna, The SeVerna is part of the New Communities Initiative, a comprehensive public-private partnership designed to improve the quality of life for families and individuals living on four neighborhoods in the District. The project was developed by Bible Way Church, MissionFirst Development and Henson Development Company. All 60 units at this housing facility were made available to households at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) with 30 of the units designated for households at 30 percent AMI.

“Standing here looking at our projects shows the church’s consistency to provide affordable housing in a rapidly gentrifying area. We were able to get land, hold on to it and develop to help those in need,” said Yvonne Williams, daughter of the bishop.