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United Bank Commits $270K Toward Affordable Housing Efforts In D.C. Neighborhoods Where Rents Are Spiking

18th Street in the Adams Morgan Neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., is the seventh-most-expensive housing market in the nation, according to Zumper. Rent in Columbia Heights has jumped more than 50% since 2000, placing new financial strain on the neighborhood’s longtime residents. Apartment List reports that over 20% of D.C. residents are “cost-burdened” — that is, spending more than half of their income on housing. 

Affordable housing is disappearing at an accelerating rate. Rent prices in the 20001 ZIP code, which extends from Howard University south to the U.S. Capitol, are rising at the second-fastest pace in the nation, exceeded only by Skid Row in Los Angeles, according to

In order to create affordable housing options in D.C., United Bank has committed $270K to support nonprofit developer Jubilee Housing’s affordable housing efforts. The partnership includes a $250K investment in Jubilee’s Justice Housing Partner Fund and a $20K donation to help launch a new strategic alliance pilot social services initiative called Platform of Hope, a set of integrated programs and services that will support life goals within resource-rich neighborhoods. 

“By investing in this foundation for justice housing, we hope to build a stronger community where all families, regardless of income, can lead successful lives,” United Bank Managing Director of Community Development and Nonprofit Banking Joe LeMense said. 

The D.C. government provides capital for many affordable housing initiatives, but as rents continue to rise, many longtime residents are running out of choices when it comes to housing. Nonprofit developers like Jubilee Housing are attempting to fill in the gaps, giving low-income residents the option to stay or move into neighborhoods where they may otherwise be priced out.

Jubilee established the Justice Housing Partner Fund in 2018 in order to acquire properties in some of Washington’s most rapidly growing neighborhoods: Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant. The capital from the fund will let Jubilee’s affordable housing projects remain competitive with for-profit development projects. 

United Bank has already financed the acquisition or renovation of eight properties in Adams Morgan, but this new investment will support Jubilee’s efforts to provide 100 units specifically for residents making no more than 30% of annual median income. Two properties — 1724 Kalorama Road NW and 1460 Euclid St. NW — have already been acquired through the fund, with United’s Joe LeMense and Terence Callahan procuring $10.5M in senior acquisition bridge financing.

“United is committed to the sustainability and vitality of the areas we serve. We are proud to deepen our partnership with Jubilee Housing through new initiatives that will provide affordable housing and supportive opportunities in neighborhoods with readily accessible, quality resources for residents,” LeMense said.

The Platform of Hope program will support a collaborative of organizations in Adams Morgan that provide holistic and supportive programming for up to 20 low-income families as they pursue self-defined goals in areas such as educational achievement, health and well-being and building assets for the future. Members of the collaborative include Capital Area Asset Builders, For Love of Children, Jubilee Housing, Jubilee JumpStart, Mary’s Center and Sitar Arts Center.

“We are grateful to United Bank for their willingness to help us address D.C.’s growing inequity, through the creation of more justice housing and holistic resource-rich programming,” Jubilee Housing Executive Director and President Jim Knight said. “We believe that this foundation will create opportunity for economic and social mobility for generations to come.”

This is United Bank’s first-ever investment of this kind. The investment has been matched dollar-for-dollar by one of the fund’s largest investors, The Share Fund. The acquisitions were also made possible by investments from The Diane and Norman Bernstein Foundation, 11 individual investors and a substantial grant from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation. 

From relieving financial and transportation burdens to lasting economic and educational impact, a commitment to affordable housing can have a targeted and immediate impact on the lives of Washington residents.

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and United Bank. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.