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Obama Administration Helps Jump-Start Two New D.C. Housing Upgrades

12:39 PM EDT on May 10, 2010

The federal government has long taken heat for giving short shrift to cities, and the Obama administration -- which recently lost its urban affairs chief after months of lackluster progress -- is no exception.

But two projects getting underway in the U.S. capital provide evidence that, slowly but surely, federal funding is making its way to the type of dense urban developments that are becoming more in-demand as the suburbs languish.

SheridanTownhomes.jpgA rendering of the future Sheridan Terrace apartment complex in D.C.'s economically struggling Ward 8. (Photo: ANC 8C01)

The Washington City Paper's Lydia DePillis first flagged the two housing efforts on Friday afternoon:

Last October, the Obama administration announcedthat it would be helping out state housing finance agencies with theirliquidity problems ... Last month, D.C. became the first housing finance agencyin the country to close a multi-deal transaction using the federaldollars, patching together $55.8 million in construction costs forthree rental buildings in the district.

The 52-unit Webster Gardens, which was built in 1921 as the firstgarden-style apartment building in the city, will now be the firstbuilding in the city — and therefore the country! — to move forward usingmoney that started with legislation all the way back in 2008.

DePillis also highlighted the Sheridan Station housing development, where D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty was slated to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony this morning.

The Sheridan project received $5.8 million in stimulus money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) last year, which will go towards constructing an energy-efficient replacement for torn-down public housing units in the city's economically struggling Ward 8. More than one-third of residents in the ward are living below the poverty line, according to the most recent available Census data.

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