June brings the summer solstice, longer, light-filled days. I can’t believe it’s already midyear. As I reflect on our work at Washington Housing Conservancy, I am buoyed by the traction we are getting around our model and our thought leadership on the vital importance of the nexus between safe affordable housing, placemaking, and building connections between people across lines of difference in our communities.    

I wanted to share a quick recap of our work this year thus far and a preview of what’s to come.  

Even as rents continue to climb regionally and nationally, WHC has remained dedicated to keeping our communities affordable, particularly for moderate income individuals – those squeezed by rent burden but making too much for subsidy or assistance. 

In just the first six months of the year, we’ve held over 30 gatherings and events for residents across our five properties to connect with each other and create social attachment and cohesion. Sip & Paints have proven to be a real hit across our properties! In the Spring, we hosted our annual Spring Fest at Huntwood Courts and Crystal House. Both were attended by well over 200 residents and a great time was had by all.  

Here are some of the highlights of WHC’s work in 2024. 

Housing as A Vital Part of Social Infrastructure 

  • In WHC’s March Blog, I discussed how social infrastructure is at the core of WHC’s approach and impact. The blog reflected on a recent major study from Gehl and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF): Social Infrastructure: Connecting People & Places for Thriving Communities released in March. I served as a senior project advisor for the study and have collaborated with Gehl on and off for more than a decade. It has been an honor to serve as a thought partner and consultant. The Gehl/RWJF study provides a roadmap to actualize our social infrastructure and create opportunities for people to build critical relationships across differences and within their communities that foster the connection so necessary for people and communities to thrive.   
  • I was honored to serve on a panel “Combating Loneliness in the Digital Age,” hosted by Retro Report that featured an exclusive premiere of their latest film on cohousing, One Solution for Social Isolation followed by a discussion moderated by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien (Soledad O’Brien Productions) about the role that social infrastructure and social media play in forming community and the challenges to changing housing policy.  

Partnerships and Fundraising  

  •  In May, WHC had the great pleasure of hosting the ENABLE (Empowering Network of Amazon Black Executives) group from Amazon at our Crystal House community. Crystal House was one of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund’s first investments in the DMV and was a catalyst for WHC’s success in our first five years. ENABLE members toured the property, talked with residents and property management, and learned more about WHC’s approach to affordable housing and economic mobility. Group members also donated nearly $10,000 of their own funds to WHC on the day! WHC was also in Seattle for Amazon’s announcement of the $1.4B additional investment in the Housing Equity Fund. This will continue to be transformational for affordable housing in Amazon’s footprint communities.  
  • In the first quarter of the year, TD Bank Foundation awarded WHC $1 million to advance our mission to reinvent the housing system into a more equitable pathway to opportunity for all and provide a blueprint to address housing affordability challenges in other cities. We were thrilled to be selected by a leader in international corporate philanthropy and to be one of 10 awardees selected in Canada and the US.  
  • Finally, WHC has been selected to be part of the 2024 Spur Local class (formerly the Catalogue of Philanthropy for Greater Washington). We are pleased to be recognized as a local organization creating significant change on a regional level. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to reach new audiences, partners and possible supporters of our mission.  

Media and Speaking 

  • WHC was featured in a recent Bloomberg CityLab article examining the impact of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund and discussing the need for the private sector to join with the government and others to address affordable housing challenges.  
  • WHC’s Director of Asset Management, Yvette Ross Kane, spoke at the Inaugural TD Bank Affordable Housing Summit at Howard University in April. She and other panelists shared the innovative, impactful solutions TD has supported to increase affordable housing. 

What Lies Ahead 

  • WHC is partnering with Kaboom! and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation to build a state-of-the-art new playground at Huntwood Courts this September. We’re excited to create a safe, interactive and most importantly fun place for the communities’ children to play and learn together.  
  • Washington Housing Conservancy is excited to announce our partnership with Casey Trees to enhance and beautify our communities, grow community pride and contribute to a healthier, more sustainable living environment. Casey Trees has generously agreed to provide a substantial number of trees for our Huntwood Courts, Hamilton Manor, and Earle Manor communities. We’ll be planting this Fall.  
  • WHC will launch our Housing + Mobility Lab later this year. The Lab will bring together a national network of peer cities and stakeholders to learn more about the WHC model and adapt it to their own unique circumstances and environment. The Housing + Mobility Lab will also focus on advancing economic mobility strategies for moderate to low-income people. 

I am energized by all WHC’s accomplishments thus far and the momentum of our work. Together with our supporters and partners, we can ensure that housing is a right and with that right more people will have the opportunity to build wealth and a bright future for themselves and their families.   

Enjoy the summer and be in touch! 

Kimberly Driggins  

Executive Director  


Preserving housing affordability and promoting economic mobility in the DC-region

The Washington Housing Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your investment helps us expand our work. Your gift is 100% tax-deductible. EIN 83-1866109

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