3rd Place Adult Winner

March 31, 2015

Our third place winner, Valerie Person, gives a detailed and emotional account of her dynamic definition of home. As a daughter, mother, and grandmother she has experienced different experiencse in her life that have shaped her descriptive meaning of what home is to her.

Valerie Person_Swan Gray_Dynise Coogler 3

Valerie Person (left) seen accepting her 3rd place award with fellow essay finalists.

Home is Where the Heart Is
A home is a special place to have, because there is love. I feel so peaceful and loved just to sit in my home and read a book, watch TV, and sit at my computer enjoying the quietness…. My life has not been all that good. I lost my way, my children, grandchildren, family and my home. I was addicted to drugs for years and had nowhere to live. I thank God for delivering me.

While living with my sons we had good times when I was not doing drugs. They did not have everything they wanted, but they did not go without on the holidays either. I still cooked during those times and the love was still there, but in their eyes and heart, they were hurting. Sometimes I did not know how to feel. I knew that we love each other, but to them I had a different way of showing mine. Today I know that there is nothing like having family. Now I have a roof over my head, a warm bed and my family support. I feel safe and comfortable, protected, peaceful and loved. I do not have to worry about where I would sleep anymore. My family comes and celebrates my birthdays and Thanksgiving with me. I feel the love and peace in my heart knowing that I have a second chance to be with them. God’s presence flows through my home. It is a blessing knowing that he will never leave me.

I love when my grandchildren come over on weekends. We pray, sing, read our bibles and let God’s presence come down. We are always doing something together. I just love the smiles on their faces when they walk in and just light up the house. They are as happy to be with me as I am with them. We are always glorifying God. My youngest granddaughter she gets on her knees every time she hears the song “Pray”. In church that is the song that we sing, during prayer time. They love going to church with me. They sing and they love playing the games on TV. The aroma of the food I cook is a wonderful smell in the air all over the house. I teach them how to bake cakes, doughnuts and cupcakes. We have a ball. Sometimes I cannot wait for them to go sleep. They can be a handful but I love them all.

The joy that I have in my home is a glorious feeling. I thank God for all he is doing in my life. My home is where the heart is. It is the love we all share when we come together under one roof. Our love is from the heart and it is unconditional. We have our difficulties, but we still love each other. Having a home is a blessing.

1st place youth entry

March 24, 2015

Aniya Ward

A very proud and gleeful Aniya, as she accepts her 1st place award.

Our first place youth winner, Aniya Ward, gives a symbolic definition of what home means to her.  She is well aware of the disadvantages of those without homes to call their own, but explains the importance of happiness in everything that she does.  Congrats on being this year’s first place winner!

1st Place | Youth Category
“Home”, home is a place where I feel free. Home, home is the place where I can be anyone I want to be. My home to me is music. When I sing I feel peace, I feel calm, and I feel that absolutely nobody can get to me. They say home is where you live, but I think otherwise. To me, home can be anywhere, as long as you feel like you can be yourself. Where I was raised, I was taught to respect others, and to treat other people how I wanted to be treated. I take everything that I have ever learned, and I use it towards music. Every note I hit when I sing is magic. Even if I mess up I know that it’s ok. Usually, when I mess up anything at school, I put a lot of pressure on myself because I want everything that I do, to be done perfectly. But at home I feel serenity. As a youth, I’m grateful to even have a place to call home. I’m grateful to have a place to rest my head, and dance all day until my feet hurt because not everyone has that. Where I live is a place where I can learn from my mistakes, perfect my crafts, and strive to be the best. Unfortunately people don’t have the open doors to work on their life goals no matter how talented they are. To the people who are associated with the homeless environment, I truly believe that they deserve to have a place to call home. They deserve to know that they deserve the best, and they deserve to have a chance to succeed and be the best. My home is my open door to success, but most importantly “Home Is Where the Heart Is”.

2nd Place Youth Entry

March 17, 2015

Charles Barley

Our second place youth writing winner, Charles Barley, accounts his transition from his old home into his new home. Here, in this subtle yet sentimentally driven entry, Charles magnifies the little things that he thinks make his home a very special one.

Home Sweet Home

My home is a sweet home. As a kid growing up, I used to hang outside with my friends. I didn’t spend much time at home. I loved the streets more than coming home. Then, we moved to my new home. It wasn’t brand new, but new to me. We were the first ones to move from the old neighborhood. I liked staying inside playing games and wrestling with my dad. This made my house a home. This is a home sweet home. When I think of home, it brings back memories of a place where I play games, dance, and go outside with family and friends. My memories of home are fun. Home is more than a place that I live. It is more than a place that I lay my head. It is a safe place where I wake up in the mornings. My home is home sweet home.

3rd Place Youth Entry 2015

March 10, 2015

Alex Merino_Charles Barley_Aniya WardOur third place youth winner, Alex Merino (left), has high hopes to be a professional soccer player one day.  He and his family found a comfortable place to call their home with the help of Jubilee Housing.  Alex Merino expresses his aspirations and satisfaction with this detailed entry.

3rd Place Youth Entry: Alex Merino

Home is a special place for me because it is a place I can be secure in and I am always happy with my family. Everything is joyful in my apartment with my mom and my family. It is joyful because everybody makes me happy in my home and my home is so blessed because Jubilee Housing gave it to us. My heart feels good there. It is so fun in my house because there are games to play and I have space to play with my brother. If I wasn’t in Jubilee Housing in my apartment learning with the youth programs, I would be failing my grades. I would have an F in each class I went to. Even if I tried my hardest nothing would be better than a place that is quiet so I could hear myself think. My favorite place about my home is that everything there is mine. If my family didn’t own it, I wouldn’t be so happy and joyful. Without my house I would be starving to death because we would have no place to put our food. Even if I had five dollars or so, I wouldn’t have any food because in the streets all the rats would touch it. When I grow up I want my home to be a place where I could live and offer my space to other homeless people and kids so they could live in and that they won’t get sick outside or die from thunder if it is thundering or lightening. I want to be a famous soccer player when I grow up and I would want a mansion so everyone who is special could fit inside. Even if there were 100 homeless people I could fit them all in my house. That is why housing is so special to me because Jubilee Housing is teaching me how to have a home and be a good soccer player. They teach me to reach out to others, like homeless people, so they could be okay and succeed through the rest of their lives. Home is special to me because I know nothing will stop me reaching my sweet dreams!

Successfull Housing For All Rally: DC is Our Home

February 13, 2015

On Saturday, over 700 people packed Calvary Baptist Church with one message, Housing For All: DC is Our Home. The high-energy event included stories of residents struggling and succeeding in finding affordable housing,  essays by students and adults, and performances by groups and artists connected with affordable housing providers. 
At the fourth and largest Housing For All Rally, residents came from all walks of life to challenge DC government to do more to address DC’s growing affordability. They were joined by Mayor Muriel Bowser, DC Council Housing and Community Develpment Committee Chair Anita Bonds, and Councilmember Elissa Silverman. 
Mayor Bowser continued her commitment to increase investments in a wide variety of affordable housing types. “When we think about the $100 million for affordable housing I know we have to think about it across the entire spectrum. From very very low income housing to middle income housing. We have to think about new housing and we have to think about preserving housing…I consider this among the top things I have to do as Mayor.” 
Both Councilmembers also committed to work hard to address the housing needs in the District, connecting strongly with the need to end chronic homelessness, provide opportunities for homeownership, provide affordable rental housing, and preserve the affordable places where people live. 
This is a promising sign. “I am hearted by the moment we find ourselves in. We have an engaged community, we have new leadership in the executive branch and legislative branch to get some things done that are sustainable,” said Steve Glaude, Executive Director of the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development.  
The success of the rally reflects the strength of the Housing For All Campaign. The Campaign has continued to grow and develop new partnerships, including the over 200 organizations that support the campaign and the event. We also set important targets for the Mayor and DC Council to meet, including a $100 million commitment to the Housing Production Trust Fund as well as investments across the Continuum of Housing. 
“The Housing For All Campaign has changed the conversation about affordable housing in DC” said Susanne Slater, President of the Board of CNHED. “Saturday’s rally is a demonstration of the important role the campaign is playing in making sure DC invests in affordable housing programs that meet the District’s diverse needs.
 Winning entries of the Housing For All Writing Competition:


Volunteer to phone bank with Housing For All!

January 16, 2015

We will be reaching out to our community to let them know about the Housing For All Rally! With your help we will be able call all our supporters to let them know and encourage them to join us!

DC Council Supports $100 Million Housing Production Trust Fund

November 18, 2014

Today, DC Council voted unanimously to support at least $100 million in appropriations for the Housing Production Trust Fund annually. Bill 20-708, the Housing Production Trust Fund Baseline Funding Amendment Act of 2014, was introduced by Councilmember (now Mayor-elect) Bowser in recognition of this critical tool for producing and preserving affordable housing. Since the legislation is subject to appropriation, it will require further action by the Mayor and Council in the DC budget.193

“CNHED applauds the DC Council for their commitment to ensure that every District resident can live in housing that is affordable to them,” says Stephen Glaude, Executive Director of CNHED.  “This legislation is a major step forward in creating a predictable source of funds for preserving and developing affordable housing.”

In introducing the legislation, Mayor-elect Bowser acknowledged the important efforts of CNHED’s Housing For All Campaign. CNHED has advocated for significant and stable funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund for over a decade. “It is through the dedicated work of Housing For All Campaign supporters and CNHED members that this legislation has passed,” says Campaign Organizer Elizabeth Falcon. “Through Council visits, town hall meetings, and direct advocacy, we have educated legislators about the value of the Trust Fund.”

What the Trust Fund has done for DC

  • The Trust Fund is crucial to meeting DC’s affordable housing goals of ending chronic homelessness, supporting first-time home buyers, and creating and preserving high quality rental housing.
  • It has produced and preserved over 8,500 affordable homes across every ward in the District. There are 2,300 more affordable homes in the pipeline with Trust Fund commitments.
  • Estimated conservatively, more than 18,000 DC residents currently live in units funded by the Trust Fund.
  • For every dollar invested from the Trust Fund, $2.50 was invested from other sources.
  • It has created an estimated 10,000 short-term and permanent jobs.
  • It has strong guidelines that prescribe levels and lengths of affordability to serve District residents with the greatest housing need.
  • When used with DC’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, it provides tenants with the opportunity to stay in their homes and preserve affordable housing for themselves and their neighbors.

Learn more about the Trust Fund and how CNHED members have also successfully used the Trust Fund to keep District residents in high quality and affordable homes. See more photos from today’s rally.

DC’s HPAP Homeowners: Christina White

October 31, 2014

This ongoing series will highlight the individuals and families who have purchased their first home in DC using the Home Purchase Assistance Program, and the great impact it’s had on the people, neighborhoods, and communities of the District.

Although I live alone, owning a home has been a major step for my family as well.

I have been living in the District my entire life: 25 years. This last year, I worked with the Greater Washington Urban League, utilizing the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) to purchase my first home in Deanwood, Ward 7. HPAP made homeownership more affordable for me. HPAP is a gap-based program.  This means that it is intended only to bridge the gap between what a lender will approve and the cost of the home. Therefore, had I needed to acquire the full amount of debt with a traditional lender, there was a risk of not being approved for a loan or potentially having a significantly higher monthly mortgage.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Christina cuts the ribbon on her new home

Being a homeowner gives stability, both physically and financially, to be able to move ahead in life. Building equity in my home allows me to pay off the debt and be able to increase my leverage in the world.  Although I live alone, owning a home has been a major step for my family as well. My cousins, siblings, parents, extended family, etc., have been not only been encouraged but also motivated to utilize opportunities for their own lives.

HPAP is an important program because it helps to make homeownership affordable. Without it, DC would instantly become a city in which only the upper middle-class would be able to dwell. Though HPAP helps to make homeownership affordable, taking advantage of other homeownership programs in order to help bridge the gap also helps significantly.  Saving for your future is also a must as well!

By Christina White, Ward 7

DC Council Supports Housing Production Trust Fund Baseline Funding Act

October 22, 2014

Yesterday, the Council voted unanimously to bring to a vote* Bill 20-708, Housing Production Trust Fund Baseline Funding Amendment Act of 2014. The bill, introduced by Councilmember Bowser, sets the groundwork for a $100 million a year investment in the Trust Fund. CNHED has worked for a year to build support for an annual commitment of $100 million to the Trust Fund, through testimony, ward town hall meetings, and the Housing For All Rally. The legislation is subject to appropriation, so no funds are committed now, but it demonstrates that like us, the DC Council believes the Housing Production Trust Fund needs $100 million a year to create and keep affordable housing in DC.

“The Housing Production Trust Fund is the District’s premier tool for producing and preserving affordable housing….The District needs to get serious about consistent funding year to year for affordable housing creation and preservation. I would really like to acknowledge as well the really important efforts of the Housing For All Campaign.” – Councilmember Bowser, introducing the legislation

Councilmembers Catania, Bonds, Orange, Evans and Barry also spoke out for the need for consistent affordable housing investment through the Housing Production Trust Fund.

Advocate with us!

*The Council will now hold two votes to pass this legislation. Come out to the votes to continue to show the DC Council that we need a $100 million Housing Production Trust Fund.
First vote: October 28
Expected final vote: November 18

Time: 11:00 am
Location: John A Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW, , Room 500.

You can also follow on twitter @cnhed #100m4hptf

Housing For All: Home is Where the Heart Is

October 16, 2014

Youth and Adult Writing Contest

At CNHED’s Housing For All Campaign, we know home is important. A home is a special place. A place where we love and take care of ourselves, and where we take care of each other. Submit your essay, poem, or story that tells us about the home that is in your heart, and you could win a prize! Submissions are due Monday, December 15. We encourage everyone to share their stories as we work to win Housing For All in DC. Download the Flier Housing For All Rally 2014 106b Writing Winners

Prompt: We all know the phrase “Home is where the heart is.” What does it mean to you? Share your heartfelt story with us.

First Prize: $100 Gift Certificate
Second Prize: $50 Gift Certificate
Third Prize: $25 Gift Certificate
Awarded in both youth and adult categories

Contest Guidelines:

  • Submissions should be no more than 500 words- essay, story or poetry accepted
  • Submissions are due December 15, 2014
  • Submissions and questions should be directed to Elizabeth Falcon: housingforall@cnhed.orgDSCN4788
  • Authors should state if they are applying in the adult or youth category. (Authors over 18 should submit in the “adult” category)
  • Authors who have won in previous years are not eligible to win again
  • Winners will be informed by January 15, 2015
  • Winners will be recognized at the Housing for All Rally – details will be announced to all participants. All are welcome to attend. The first place winner in each category will be asked to read their winning submission
  • Any submissions become the property of CNHED. Winning entries will be published on our blog www.housingforallblog.org .  All publications will credit the author


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