At a meeting last month hosted by the Near SE/SW Community Benefits Coordinating Council, a representative from the DC Housing Authority explained to residents of Greenleaf the $500,000 HUD Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant the agency is applying for and the process between now and any future redevelopment of the community. Greenleaf was built in 1959 and includes a cluster of townhomes, midrise, and walk-up units from I to M streets, between 3rd Street and Delaware Avenue. In addition, Greenleaf Seniors is a high-rise at the SE corner of Delaware Avenue and M Street, as well as a mid-rise building located at 203 N Street. There are a total of 497 units in all three sections. If DCHA is awarded the planning grant for Greenleaf, it would be the third Choice grant for the city, since grants have already been awarded to Kenilworth Parkside in NE and Barry Farm/Wade Apartments in SE. A physical condition report was done on Greenleaf as a part of the application that was submitted late last month to HUD and it was determined that the community was distressed, which is one of the conditions that needs to be met in order to qualify for a Choice grant. In addition, Amidon-Bowen Elementary School is considered to be an under-performing school.
Residents will be given at least 90 days notice before any moving would be necessary for redevelopment to occur. DCHA intends to go forward with redeveloping Greenleaf whether or not it receives the grant since the buildings are near the end of their useful lifespan. DCHA will need to demonstrate to HUD how they will redevelop Greenleaf with or without the grant. They will seek a private partner to help implement the redevelopment and the goal is no displacement of current residents. All units will be replaced one-for-one, interspersed with market-rate units. In previous Hope VI projects, the rules for former residents to return to the redeveloped community were stringent and resulted in many people being unable to return. In Greenleaf's case, the rules have been eased, so the only requirement that a former resident needs to meet is the ability to comply with the terms of the lease.
As a part of the planning process, DCHA will need to come up with a Transformation plan for Greenleaf, which will take about 24 months to complete. The boundaries used for the Transformation plan will be the same as the Small Area Plan that's underway by the Office of Planning, but the process will be different. After that is completed, it will take another year to prepare the application for a HUD Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant, which could be worth up to $30 million to help implement the transformation plan. In other words, it will take at least five years before any redevelopment would begin. In the meantime, the units will be maintained - recently, some cosmetic improvements have been made at the Greenleaf Extension buildings (garden apartments), including a new paint job.