Every month, WHC is excited to spotlight a leader, stakeholder or resident and their answer to “Why WHC?” This month, we feature our Director of Asset Management and DC native, Yvette Ross Kane.
For Yvette Ross Kane, working at the Washington Housing Conservancy (WHC) is deeply personal.
Ross Kane, the Director of Asset Management for the organization’s portfolio of more than 1,600 apartment homes, is saddened that too few people she grew up with can continue to live in the city. In her longtime Northwest neighborhood near the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center, housing costs are prohibitive.
“There are all these wonderful resources that have come along as the city has progressed, but those of us who lived through some tough times are unable to benefit from the new bounty. So, WHC’s mission is heartfelt for me,” she says.
Ross Kane joined WHC in May 2022, bringing extensive experience managing affordable housing portfolios at the nonprofit Homes for America and the DC Housing Authority. Seeing the media coverage of WHC’s acquisition of Crystal House in Arlington, VA. and its plans to transform a market-rate apartment complex into a mixed-income community, she knew that this was where she wanted to be.
“I was excited by WHC’s work way before WHC had work for me.”
A particular source of excitement for Ross Kane is WHC’s focus on people who are often ignored – people like her childhood friends who serve the city and work hard, but whose wages have not kept pace with the skyrocketing costs of housing.
WHC’s model allows working people to take advantage of and be a part of the growth in the city, she says.
“It’s not always sexy to talk about workforce housing. But I embrace these conversations because, quite frankly, without interventions like ours, folks can easily become housing insecure or be displaced.”
Within WHC’s portfolio, Ross Kane believes Crystal House in Arlington and the Loree Grand in DC are creating opportunities for people to access housing that would otherwise have been out of reach. Other properties such as Hamilton Manor in Hyattsville, MD, and Earle Manor in Silver Spring, MD, are preserving housing affordability because they prevent displacement in markets facing tremendous development pressure. She says WHC’s range of properties addresses the myriad of challenges facing individuals and families with moderate to low incomes.
The chances to preserve housing affordability and ease rent burdens aren’t Ross Kane’s only inspirations at WHC. Ross Kane also celebrates the social impact strategies that focus on building resident connections and belonging while providing opportunities for wealth building.
“People are living in a place where their rent will stay reasonable, and they can be part of a community that’s investing in itself. Our work also helps foster a sense of belonging and the strength of connection that comes when people get to know others from different backgrounds,” she says of the services and opportunities that aren’t typical of most affordable housing communities.
“What we are doing at WHC properties is helping the community become its own asset, based on their needs and capabilities. And that is truly disruptive,” Ross Kane says. “It’s still early, but our resident services team truly listens to residents and helps them frame solutions to the challenges they’ve been able to voice.”
Ross Kane says her greatest joy at WHC is helping advance the mission to preserve and create more affordable homes, so people can stay in the neighborhoods they love.
“As a child of a working class family that made sacrifices to stay in the place we knew as home, I feel that there is another family out there – just like ours – who can benefit from the richness of this place because of the work we are doing. I see how residents are empowered by the investment WHC makes, to realize what they want for themselves and their families,” she says.
Preserving housing affordability and promoting economic mobility in the DC-region
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