Brookland Manor (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)
Brookland Manor (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)

Brookland Manor is our home. It’s where we have lived our lives with our friends and families. It’s where many of our children grew up and come back to visit us. But at 80 years old, our home is in need of some TLC and our community needs a boost. That’s why we’re supporting the redevelopment of Brookland Manor into RIA.

When we first heard about RIA, we had a lot of questions about the redevelopment and our future.

But throughout this process, the company redeveloping Brookland Manor — Mid-City — has gone above and beyond to ensure that those of us living here are involved and informed every step of the way. Mid-City even organized resident committees that give input on the design and amenities in the new development. As Chairs of these committees, we’re excited to have a voice not only in how our new homes will look, but in the features we will enjoy while living there.

The cornerstone of Mid-City’s commitment is the pledge to house all 373 of the project-based Section 8 existing residents of Brookland Manor and cover any onsite relocation costs. Mid-City has set aside more than one in five homes for low-income families, which is more than double what the District requires.

Those of us who have lived here know Mid-City as a responsible and compassionate landlord invested in this community. Right now at Brookland Manor, Mid-City provides residents many support services like a food pantry, health and job fairs, after-school tutoring and a summer camp for our children. These services will only expand at RIA, including the construction of health exam rooms to bring critical medical care to folks in our community who need it most.

At RIA, we won’t just be getting a new home — we’ll be gaining enhanced services that will make our lives and our children’s lives better. This commitment to affordable housing and social support services helps us and the District as a whole.

As longtime residents, we don’t just want a nicer place to live, we want our community to grow — like the rest of the District. RIA will help make that happen by providing spaces for new local businesses, including a dedicated space for a grocery store in an area of D.C. that lacks access to healthy food options and has been identified as a food desert. More people will be eating and shopping in our neighborhood, making our community a more vibrant place to live.

Between construction projects, the grocery store and new businesses, RIA will create more than 3,000 jobs here in our neighborhood. That’s good for residents and those living in Brentwood and throughout the District, too.

Thanks to these many benefits, RIA has a lot of community support. Our neighbors and civic leaders see that RIA will make our community stronger; more than 200 Brookland Manor residents have already signed a letter of support for RIA; Council member Kenyan McDuffie backs the project; and local faith leaders and organizations support the redevelopment thanks to its commitment to affordable housing.

With the redevelopment of Brookland Manor into RIA, current residents, the greater Brentwood community and the District as a whole will benefit from new businesses and jobs, health and educational services and a more vibrant community.

With so much to gain, RIA can’t come soon enough.

Thaddeus James is chair of Mid-City’s Senior Committee. Kim Edwards is chair of Mid-City’s Multi-Family Committee.

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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