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National Nonprofit receives $400,000 in grants from Wells Fargo to promote economic self-sufficiency at its two Washington, D.C. housing developments

October 26, 2020

garfield residents at baseball game

Washington, D.C. – The Wells Fargo Foundation has awarded national nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) $400,000 in grants to support the organization’s community impact initiatives at its two affordable housing communities in Washington, D.C. that will provide a pathway from housing stability to economic mobility.

The funding is part of the Wells Fargo Foundation, which is a $1 billion philanthropic commitment to create more housing affordability solutions by 2025 by investing in strategies to advance housing stability, increasing supply of affordable homes, expanding homeownership opportunities for people of color, and driving transformation and innovation in local communities.

One of the grants will be used at POAH’s new redevelopment at the site of the former Barry Farm public housing in Anacostia that will create up to 1,100 new units of housing, retail stores, parks and a community center. Residents will receive access to programs that include career navigation, asset-building, digital literacy, health and wellness, and positive youth development.

Residents who have been temporarily relocated currently receive access to community services in collaboration with local service providers through POAH's Community Impact Department including health fairs, back-to-school events, wellness calls, food deliveries and access to personal protective equipment (PPE).

The grant will support activities commemorating the rich history of Barry Farm as DC's first African American homeownership community.

The other grant will be used at Garfield Hills Apartments, a 94-unit apartment complex in Anacostia where POAH proposes community-building initiatives and social-emotional programming to create a pathway from housing stability to economic mobility that recognizes the unique needs and assets of each family at Garfield Hills. Families here are mostly single-parent homes with multiple children whose incomes have fluctuated over time.

Planned strategies include coaching, lease education, emergency rent, food and utility assistance; GED, adult basic education, job readiness training and employment partnerships. Additionally, this grant will allow POAH the opportunity to expand the Family Self-Sufficiency program that helps families to increase their earnings, build savings, and make progress towards financial independence over a five- year period. 

“We’ve had a rich history of working with POAH to strengthen our neighborhoods through philanthropy and volunteerism,” said John Allen, Region Bank President. “Safe and stable housing enables people to build upon the rest of their life and together, we can shift the narrative to help others understand that housing affordability is both an economic and humanitarian crisis that’s taking a toll on millions of people.”

“Beyond providing safe, affordable, and comfortable homes, POAH’s Community Impact initiatives will help our DC residents to make significant strides in other areas of their lives, such as employment, education, and health, empowering them to achieve their goals and achieve greater economic mobility,” said POAH Managing Director, Real Estate Development Rodger Brown.