Patti Sanner & Rosemarie Harrington/Reading Specialists

AHC Faces

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Reading Specialists Help Struggling Readers Succeed

Patti Sanner and Rosemarie Harrington have helped dozens of children build literacy skills since they began working with AHC as part-time reading specialists nearly seven years ago. Each works one-on-one for about 30 minutes a week with children who have been identified as struggling readers.

Their dedication is one of the reasons AHC’s students are succeeding. Last year, all of the 28 students Patti and Rosemarie worked with improved at least a year’s worth of progress in their reading ability. Six struggling readers advanced more than a year. “If we catch the children at a young age, we can help them catch up,” explains Rosemarie. “It’s a joy to help them get over hurdles and to figure out how each child connects to reading.”

Patti believes the program’s team approach also contributes to children’s success. “It takes a village,” she says. “Everyone contributes to making learning more accessible and positive, from the managers to the volunteers. And because we work with different siblings over time, we are part of the families, too.”

Photo: Rosemarie Harrington (left) and Patti Sanner help bring the joy of reading to struggling readers.

Investing in a Baltimore Neighborhood

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AHC Milestones

AHC Focuses $60 Million Investment in Baltimore’s Park Heights Neighborhood

In the last 15 years, AHC Inc. has invested nearly $60 million in Baltimore’s Park Heights neighborhood through four properties that provide more than 500 affordable homes for a variety of residents, including senior citizens, homebuyers, families and the disabled.

“AHC believes we can make a bigger impact in the community by focusing our investment in a specific area,” explains Andrew Vincent, AHC Greater Baltimore Director.  “Providing more opportunities for quality affordable housing in a concentrated area can help tip the balance in a neighborhood and bring it to life.”

Located in the northwest corner of Baltimore City, Park Heights has been home for generations of West Baltimore families, local parks and churches. Over the years, the neighborhood has seen major disinvestment alongside small pockets of growth. The City of Baltimore has recently designated 49 acres of Park Heights as a Master Redevelopment Area, with the goal of redeveloping the area into a vibrant mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood.

AHC’s properties are concentrated on the southern part of Park Heights with Madeira, the most recent investment, on the edge of the Master Redevelopment Area. AHC purchased Madera in 2014 and recently completed extensive renovations, including new appliances, windows, central air conditioning and a new roof. The complex includes 47 apartments in four buildings. New landscaping is underway and families are moving into the bright, updated apartments.

AHC’s commitment to the neighborhood began with the purchase of Greenspring Overlook apartments in 2001. An extensive renovation of the 189-unit, aging garden apartment community was completed in 2002. Two thirds of the apartments serve families with two or three-bedroom apartments. Today a thriving program for residents provides education opportunities for children, financial and job training education for adults, and a variety of programs for senior citizens.

In 2008, AHC Greater Baltimore purchased and renovated MonteVerde – two 13-story buildings with 301 affordable apartments for seniors and non-elderly disabled residents. The $30 million development project transformed the run-down property and provided more community space, updated kitchens and baths, new windows and heating and cooling systems. A thriving program for residents helps build residents’ physical and mental health and improves individuals’ ability to age in place.

When AHC purchased MonteVerde, the road leading up to the apartment community, Violet Avenue, was full of abandoned, crumbling row houses. AHC decided to build on its commitment to the area and tackle the blighted block with a homeownership project called MonteVerde Rowe. The  investment focuses on a one-block area to maximize the impact. To date, AHC has purchased 2/3 of the block. Most of the houses have been completely renovated, with more in the works. The project has been slow going, but AHC is committed to investing the time and effort to make a difference. The dedication is beginning to pay off. So far, four first-time home buyers, including a nurse and a postal worker, have purchased homes and are putting down roots in the community.

Photo: MonteVerde Rowe is coming back to life with 2/3 of the block renovated. (Photo by Anice Hoachlander)

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Riad Abdulmoniem / Volunteer

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AHC Faces

Teen Volunteer Pays It Forward

Riad is a junior in high school who volunteers with AHC’s After-School program once a week. His family’s connection to AHC’s Resident Services program began more than 15 years ago when his family arrived in Arlington from Sudan.

None of his three siblings spoke English and they found the community center at Harvey Hall to be a lifeline. “Joy Rambert (AHC Resident Services manager) and my tutors were like a second family and supported me every step,” explains Riad’s oldest brother, Abdul.

The consistent encouragement paid off. Today, Abdul has successfully graduated from medical school and is applying for residencies, his sister is pursuing a degree in dentistry and another brother is majoring in computer science at Marymount University. Riad is also exploring the idea of a medical career.

As a busy teenager, why does Riad make the time to volunteer? “Harvey Hall helps change lives,” he explains. “Volunteers helped me, my sister and my brothers get ahead. Now it’s time for me to repay the favor and pay it forward.”

Photo: Riad enjoys volunteering with AHC’s Resident Services program, which has helped his family succeed for more than 15 years. (Photo: Brian Stanton)

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Affordable Housing for Senior Citizens

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AHC Milestones

AHC’s first community for senior citizens opened in 2005.

The aging of America presents an increasing housing challenge. In the last 10 years, AHC has developed several affordable apartment communities to help older individuals maintain their independence and age in place. All provide programs and staff designed specifically to keep senior citizens active and engaged.

When it was built, Hunter’s Park was the first new construction of affordable housing in Arlington in eight years. The property provides 74 one-bedroom apartments and numerous welcoming common areas, including a living room with fireplace, library and rooftop patio. Activities abound, including exercise classes, book club, gardening workshops and special birthday celebrations. Scholarship programs for adult education opportunities are also available. The property is named for the late James B. Hunter III, a longtime supporter of affordable housing, who served as AHC’s first Board president in 1976 and also on the Arlington County Board for many years.

In 2008, AHC purchased and renovated MonteVerde Apartments in Baltimore, MD, which serves more than 300 senior citizens and physically disabled individuals. Today, AHC’s Resident Services staff help connect residents with the local services they need to live independently and improve their quality of life. The property provides a shuttle service to local retailers, a library, arts and crafts room and game room lounges, nutrition and wellness programs.

Charter House, in Silver Spring, MD, with 212 apartments for individuals aged 55 and older, became an AHC property in 2013. Located near the Silver Spring Metro station, the 14-story building is within walking distance of numerous shops and activities. AHC is creating a vibrant activities program with such partners as the Fenwick Foundation, which provides a wide variety of field trips for senior citizens. Residents are also encouraged to create additional on-site activities, which encourages more interaction and camaraderie.

Photo: Birthday celebrations are just one of the monthly activities that Hunter’s Park residents enjoy. (Photo by Brian Stanton)

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Davis Place Wins DESIGNArlington 2015 Award

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February 5, 2015 – Davis Place, a 10-unit condominium in Arlington’s Nauck neighborhood, has received a DESIGNArlington 2015 Merit Award. The biennial awards program aims to increase public awareness of outstanding design in Arlington. Davis Place, which was developed by AHC Inc., provides affordable homeownership opportunities for moderate-income families. The project was designed by Cunningham Quill Architects and built by Abramson Properties.

The three-story, burgundy and beige building is open and airy with large windows, spacious living spaces, wide kitchens, extra storage space, and outdoor living areas for each home. Six of the 10 condos are three-bedroom units with more than 1,350 square feet.  The remainder of the apartments have two bedrooms. The homes are available to first-time homebuyers who earn up to 80 percent of the Area Median Income, which is $87,360 for a family of four.

Many factors contributed to the Davis Place story – a generous donor, an impassioned community activist, a 30+ year partnership between AHC and the Nauck neighborhood, and funding support from Arlington County that helps make the homes affordable to moderate-income buyers.

The project began when AHC Inc., an Arlington-based nonprofit developer, received the property from an anonymous donor, who stipulated the land be used for affordable housing.

“The generous donation gave AHC an opportunity to focus on a challenging niche – moderate-income families who have a particularly hard time finding affordable homeownership options in Arlington,” explained Walter D. Webdale, AHC President and CEO. “We worked with Cunningham Quill to create a cohesive design that said this was a community – and not just another generic condo building that looked like apartments.”

Arlington County’s Moderate Income Purchase Assistance Program (MIPAP) is a critical part of the project’s affordability. The County’s program, which enables eligible homebuyers to receive up to 25 percent of the purchase price, covers a large amount of the down payment and closing costs and reduces the mortgage on the home to a manageable amount

The building is named in honor of Jennie Davis, an AHC founding member and a long-time affordable housing advocate. Ms. Davis lived in Nauck and was president of the Nauck Civic Association for more than 20 years. “Jennie was dedicated to making affordable housing a reality for more Arlington residents, and this building ensures her legacy lives on,” says Carlton Miller, AHC’s Vice President of Construction.

The ArlingtonDESIGN program, initiated in 2009, recognizes design work that enhances all aspects of the County’s built environment, such as notable architectural, historic preservation, landscape and public art projects. Two other AHC properties have also received recognition through the DESIGNArlington program – The Jordan in 2011 and The Shelton in 2009.

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Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing in the mid-Atlantic region that provides quality homes and education programs for low- and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 6,500 apartment units in 50 properties in Virginia and Maryland. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 2,000 children, teens, adults and seniors each year through onsite education programs and activities.