child at computer

New Report Analyzes Costs for Building Digital Equity

Providing internet access for 5,100 affordable apartments could cost $4.7 million to $6.2 million

Arlington, Va. —  Today, AHC Inc., and the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) released a report conducted by CTC Technology & Energy that analyzes how to equitably and efficiently connect local low-income residents in Arlington to the internet. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted inequities that have existed for years — particularly that many families, children, and seniors do not have access to reliable, affordable broadband options.

As the current health crisis has shifted many aspects of daily life online, the lack of affordable broadband significantly limits the ways families manage their health, finances, education, and job searches, as well as their options for building and maintaining social ties. In Arlington County, 16% of households do not have access to a fixed home broadband internet connection. Nearly three quarters of those households earn less than $75,000 annually.

“The report’s findings will continue to inform Arlington County’s vision as we address the future of broadband in our community,” said Jack Belcher, Chief Information Officer of Arlington County.

“We will use this information to further Arlington’s digital equity goals of connectivity, access, education and training, as it relates to affordable housing and our residents,” said Claude Williamson, Director of the Department of Community Planning, Housing, and Development, which is leading the County’s digital equity efforts.

The report analyzed connectivity and construction data for 39 AHC and APAH affordable apartment communities of different sizes and types that provide homes for more than 5,100 families and individuals in Arlington. The total estimated capital cost to connect all the apartment communities surveyed in the report is estimated to be between $4.7 million (for fiber to each floor, with Wi-Fi service to the units) and $6.2 million (for fiber to each unit), or roughly $925 to $1,220 per unit. In addition to those capital costs, operating costs — which would include internet bandwidth — are estimated at approximately $47,000 annually.

“Affordable, fast and reliable internet access is essential to navigate today’s world, from school and work to staying in touch with loved ones,” said Paul Bernard, AHC Inc. CEO. “AHC is proud to collaborate with local government and housing nonprofits to ensure community members, regardless of income level, have the tools they need to thrive.”

The design and cost estimates in this report are based on building connections to ConnectArlington, the county’s existing fiber network that links public buildings to the internet.

“We are thrilled to partner with AHC to progress toward our shared vision of increasing internet access in Arlington County,” Carmen Romero, President & CEO of APAH said. “This partnership represents our commitment to addressing the digital divide head-on. Now more than ever, communities need fast, reliable internet access to realize their full potential, whether at home, work, or school.

Virginia Housing provided the funding for this report.

About AHC Inc.

Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing that provides quality homes and resident services for low-and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,800 apartment units in 50+ properties in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. AHC’s Resident Services program provides education and social services to more than 3,000 children, teens, adults, and seniors each year.

About Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH)

Founded in 1989, APAH now helps more than 2,000 households live in stable, secure, and affordable rental homes. APAH has 500 affordable apartments under construction and an additional 1,000 in its development pipeline. APAH was named one of the nation’s Top 50 Affordable Housing Developers of 2019 by Affordable Housing Finance magazine. The organization was named 2021 Developer of the Year by HAND, the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers.

Celebrating 350 Volunteers – Housing + Volunteers = Success

Clockwise from top left: Nathaniel “Pic Jones, is an eight-year volunteer resident at MonteVerde Apartments, a senior AHC apartment community in Baltimore; Sharon Showalter, a 10-year tutor, has helped several students through the college application process; Leslie Korn wears multiple volunteer hats, including food distribution and tutoring; Caroline Wolford loves making learning fun and engaging – she started volunteering as a freshman in college and is currently working on her masters in education.

Providing services where residents live is AHC’s secret sauce. Volunteers are the key ingredient.

This Volunteer Month, AHC is celebrating the nearly 350 individuals and groups who generously contribute their time and talents annually through our education and social services programs.

“Our volunteers exemplify ‘Housing + Volunteers = Success,” says Laura Jackson, Resident Services Volunteer Coordinator. “AHC is grateful to the many committed individuals and groups who are making a real difference to residents where they live. Thanks to them,  students are achieving academic success and going to college and families and seniors are participating in much-needed services like food distributions and vaccine clinics steps from their front doors.”

The majority of AHC’s volunteers work directly with youth through our multi-tiered education program. Their support is changing lives. Volunteers help build students’ literacy and math skills in our afterschool and teen programs and partner one-on-one with high school juniors and seniors to help them navigate the journey to college and/or careers.

Volunteers also provide invaluable helping hands during community activities, from supporting food distributions to creating nutritious snack bags for youth and seniors.

We are also grateful to generous individuals who live at AHC apartment communities and volunteer their time to help neighbors, including a dedicated group of seniors at MonteVerde Apartments in Baltimore who deliver food to frail neighbors, help at vaccine clinics, and help Resident Services staff provide community events.  Read more.

Making Measurable Differences

Volunteers’ efforts are making a real difference. Our elementary students’ reading is improving measurably. The number of students who are on grade level or above jumped from 25% to 35% this year. All 42 seniors in our College and Career Readiness program are graduating from high school. These determined students, working with dedicated mentors, have already earned more than $4 million in college scholarships and grants – and the amount continues to grow.

At the property level, nearly 500 families at 10 different AHC properties are getting groceries every month. Volunteers are a huge part of the food distribution programs’ success. And countless individuals and groups created more than 3,000 colorful, healthy snack bags this year as study aids for students and special treats to brighten isolated seniors’ days during the pandemic.

Celebrating Long-Time Volunteers

Some individuals volunteer year after year. Their ongoing service provides the continuity and meaningful relationships that help students immeasurably and are the hallmark of our programs. We are deeply grateful for volunteers’ dedication and commitment. As of this year, 51 people have volunteered for more than five years.

In 2022, we are honoring 10 outstanding volunteers who have reached the five- or 10-year milestone. Deep thanks to Patricia Arriagada (5 years), Colin Bracis (5 years), Alyse Gardner (5 years), Alex Hegji (5 years), Lisa Ju (5 years), Leslie Korn (5 years), Peter Pfeifer (5 years), Lauren Rosenthal (5 years), Sharon Showalter (10 years), and Caroline Wolford (5 years).

Different Perspectives; Similar Personal Rewards

This year’s steadfast volunteers come from many different perspectives and bring a variety of skills to the students they support. For some, related jobs are the connection. Alex Hegji, a five-year mentor, works for the Congressional Research Services advising Congress about student loans. She says, “Volunteering as a mentor is a way for me to work on the front end of the issue, helping students before they get college loans.”

Others are committed to education. Caroline Wolford’s volunteer experience has paralleled her interest in a teaching career. She started volunteering five years ago as a freshman on the Marymount Women’s Lacrosse team. Volunteering with AHC’s Afterschool program has been part of the team’s community service activities for years. Now finishing her master’s in education from Marymount, Caroline will be teaching in Fairfax County in the fall. She plans to continue volunteering at AHC.

Some volunteers are drawn by the opportunity to give back to the community. High school senior Lauren Rosenthal has volunteered since she was in 7th grade, following her older brothers’ footsteps. Volunteering is part of their family culture.

Leslie Korn enjoys the opportunity to help a variety of individuals. She wears several AHC volunteer hats. In addition to running the weekly food distribution program for seniors at Hunter’s Park, she tutors AHC elementary students one night and teens another.

No matter what draws individuals to AHC’s programs, the common thread among volunteers is the reward of helping others while building lasting personal relationships.

Sharon Showalter, a 10-year volunteer, started as a teen tutor and helped the same student for several years – through his high school and eventual college graduation. They still keep in touch and Sharon is planning to mentor his younger brother. She says, “I love the awesome relationships with students – learning from them about their interests and world views and sharing in their excitement when they hear back from college.”

Echoes five-year volunteer Colin Bracis. “AHC has done a fantastic job of pairing teens who need a little extra academic help with willing and able volunteers with some knowledge to share. I’ve enjoyed being a part of this community and having the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Learn More About AHC’s Volunteer Programs

Learn more about AHC’s volunteer opportunities at https://www.ahcinc.org/get-involved/volunteers/ or email volunteer@ahcinc.org. Ongoing training and support provided.

About AHC Inc

Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing that provides quality homes and education programs for low-and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,800 apartments in 50+ properties in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, and adults and seniors each year through onsite education and social service programs and activities. Visit the AHC website for more information.

MonteVerde Apartments Celebrates Volunteer Heroes

MonteVerde Apartments celebrated volunteer heroes during Volunteer Month. Rear left to right: Willie Warren, Willie Roberts, Louis Woolridge, Nathaniel “Pic” Jones, and Willie Hanna. Front left to right: Gregory Pendleton and Annette “Peanut” Abrams. Not pictured: Calvin Warren.

Pre-pandemic, Friday afternoons at MonteVerde Apartments meant Club Mount – a lively community gathering with DJ Willie Warren spinning tunes and Annette “Peanut” Abrams sharing home-made dishes. Residents and staff alike looked forward to the weekly celebrations – singing, dancing, and catching up on grandchildren, family, and mutual Baltimore experiences. Other regular social events included Sunday football, Bingo, exercise classes, and art workshops.

Once the pandemic hit, all activities came to an abrupt halt. The reduced social interaction and isolation were particularly tough for the MonteVerde community, which provides 301 affordable apartments for seniors in Baltimore’s Park Heights neighborhood.

Enter a group of volunteer heroes. As everything shut down, a committed group of residents jumped into action to help support residents and ensure an ongoing sense of community. They delivered meals to residents’ doors, helped with monthly food distributions, checked on frail and elderly neighbors, assisted with vaccine clinics, and basically pitched in whenever anything was needed. Many were already long-time volunteers at the property and boosted their efforts as needs grew during the pandemic.

In April, during Volunteer Appreciation Month, MonteVerde’s Resident Services staff celebrated these heroes – eight resolute residents whose long-time volunteer efforts have made a significant difference to the community. None show any signs of slowing down their volunteerism – even as the pandemic seems to be ebbing. “This is my home and I like staying busy,” says “Peanut” Abrams.

“We truly appreciate these wonderful volunteers,” said Latrice Goode, Senior Resident Services Manager. “They continue to help residents in so many ways and really foster a sense of family here at MonteVerde.”

 MonteVerde’s volunteer heroes include:

  • Annette “Peanut” Abrams has lived at MonteVerde for eight years. She volunteers in multiple ways, including regularly picking up trash around the building. A proud great grandmother of eight, she also enjoys sewing and spending time with family.
  • Willie Hanna has lived at MonteVerde for six years and has become the face of the Art with a Heart (AWAH) program. A self-taught artist, Mr. Hanna works closely with AWAH volunteers. His artwork (along with other residents’) artwork is featured in the community room – another way of bringing neighbors together.
  • Nathanial “Pic” Jones has lived at MonteVerde for eight years, and has volunteered from the day he moved in. Mr. Jones volunteers in lots of ways, including helping with food distributions, vaccine clinics, resident events, and onsite community programs.
  • Gregory Pendleton has lived in the community for 12 years and has volunteered for at least nine years. He volunteers for everything — from grill duty at residents’ cookouts to food and bread distributions during the height of COVID-19.
  • Willie Roberts, another long, another long-time resident, has volunteered for eight years, including delivering food to residents’ doors, and helping with food distribution and vaccine clinics. He also cleans up the front grounds on the weekends.
  • Calvin Warren is a 19-year resident, and has been an active volunteer for at least 11 years. He has been on the front line delivering meals, assisting with vaccine clinics, and helping the Resident Services team whenever they needed an extra pair of hands. He also helps deliver food to shut-in residents.
  • Willie Warren has lived at MonteVerde for 12 years, and has been a consistent volunteer since he moved in. He is the DJ for all resident events – and happily responds to all requests. He also regularly volunteers his time delivering food to frail and elderly residents.
  • Louis Woolridge has lived at MonteVerde for 17 years and has been a committed volunteer for at least 11 years. He helps neighbors in myriad ways, from delivering food to helping with household chores when needed.

About MonteVerde Apartments

Located in Baltimore City’s Lower Park Heights neighborhood, MonteVerde is a 301-unit community offering affordable housing for seniors and non-elderly disabled residents in two 13-story buildings. AHC Inc., a nonprofit affordable housing developer, acquired the property in 2008 and completed an extensive renovation of the property in 2010 that provided a single entrance to the two buildings, updated kitchens and baths, new windows and heating and cooling systems, and additional communal gathering spaces for residents. AHC’s Resident Services program provides extensive onsite education and social services for residents.

About AHC Inc.

Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing that provides quality homes and education programs for low-and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,800 apartments in 50+ properties in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, and adults and seniors each year through onsite education and social service programs and activities. Visit the AHC website for more information.

Photo of Paul Bernard

AHC Board Names Paul Bernard New Chief Executive Officer

Photo of Paul Bernard

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Arlington, VA — AHC Inc.’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Paul Bernard has been unanimously selected as the organization’s new President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He will join AHC in his new role on April 4.

Mr. Bernard brings nearly 30 years of experience in urban planning and real estate development, public finance and investing, community development and affordable housing. He has worked in both the public sector as well as the private sector and has extensive external leadership skills working with communities and government officials.  Throughout his career, Mr. Bernard has demonstrated a commitment to addressing economic and social issues, including housing as the foundation for economic success. He has made diversity, equity, and inclusion a cornerstone of his leadership.

Most recently, Mr. Bernard was executive vice president of advisory and educational services at the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a nonprofit research and education organization focused on issues affecting urban communities, including housing. In that role, he managed four international and global-oriented programs and provided development services to municipalities, corporations, students, and real estate professionals. He also led a program that provided dozens of clients with solutions in affordable housing, sustainability/disaster recovery, economic development, mixed-use master planning, urban regeneration, parks and open space and other land-use issues.

Prior to ULI, Mr. Bernard was vice president at Enterprise Community Partners, a Washington, D.C nonprofit improving the lives of low-income residents through housing preservation, community development and by bridging the racial equity gap. While there, he grew a $45M national public sector advisory platform. The consulting practice included 288 diverse clients, including 48 municipalities, 187 public housing authorities, and 53 foundations/nonprofits and private organizations.

Mr. Bernard also worked for Walker & Dunlop, the largest provider of capital to the multifamily industry in the US, as senior vice president of principal investments and prior to that for MMA Realty Capital as a public pension fund advisor. He also was the planning director for the City of Detroit from 1988 to 2002, overseeing $8 billion in new construction projects. And early in his career, Mr. Bernard worked for the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, identifying sites for acquisition and development. He currently sits on the Board of Lotus, which houses and includes wrap-around services for formerly homeless residents.

“I am honored to join the AHC team and have long admired the organization’s mission of providing quality affordable housing and outstanding resident services. I am excited about the opportunity to work with local leaders, advocates, and partners to provide much-needed homes and services throughout the Virginia, Maryland, and DC region,” said Bernard.

“Paul has a history of tackling a variety of housing challenges and a track record of leading real change,” says David Barsky, AHC Board Chair. “With his perspective in economics, finance and urban planning — coupled with his passion for affordable housing and its potential to transform lives– we’re thrilled to have him lead AHC forward in its next chapter.”

Mr. Bernard will replace Susan Cunningham who served as Interim CEO since July 2021 and will support AHC as a senior adviser.

Mr. Bernard holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) in International Finance from Georgetown University’s Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service. He also holds a Master of Public Policy (MPP) in Urban Economics & Public Finance from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In addition, he has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Strategy & Finance from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

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About AHC Inc.

Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing that provides quality homes and education programs for low-and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,800 apartments in 50+ properties in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, and adults and seniors each year through onsite education and social service programs and activities. Visit the AHC website for more information.

 Contact

Celia Slater
AHC Inc. Communications Director
703-486‑0626 x1118
celia.slater@ahcinc.org

AHC Inc. Acquires First Prince George’s Property to Provide Affordable Housing in Fast-Growing Largo, MD

The joint venture with Insight Property Group and FCP preserves affordable living opportunities in job-rich, metro-accessible Largo. Town Center

(March 29, 2022 – Arlington, VA) AHC Inc. with partners Insight Property Group and Federal Capital Partners (FCP) announce the purchase of the property formerly known as Camden Largo Town Center apartments for $71.9 million in Largo, MD. Forty percent (98 apartments) of the 245-unit community will be preserved as affordable for 15 years. The community at 9701 Summit Circle will be rebranded Haven Largo.

The opportunity was awarded through Prince George’s County’s Right of First Refusal (ROFR) program, which gives Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) the authority to purchase properties to expand the availability of affordable rental housing in the County.

The commitment ensures that 10% of the property (25 units) are available to households earning up to 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) and 30% of the property (73 units) are available to those with incomes at or below 80% AMI.

“AHC is delighted to acquire our first community in Prince George’s County in partnership with the County, Insight Property Group, and FCP,” said Mary Claire Davis, AHC Greater Baltimore Director. “We appreciate the County’s commitment to providing long-term rental affordability in such a prime location and look forward to adding programming and services to further enhance the quality of life for our residents.”

Haven Largo is an attractive, well-located garden apartment community in a tranquil setting in a quickly growing submarket in Prince George’s County, MD. The community is minutes from the Largo Town Center Metro Station and the Capital Beltway. Residents of the spacious one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments have access to major employment centers including the nearby University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center. Apartment amenities include in-unit washers and dryers, vaulted ceilings, kitchen pantries, and rentable garages. The community has a fitness center, swimming pool, grilling areas, and an outdoor gazebo.

“This multifamily apartment community sits in the heart of downtown Largo, a vibrant and growing retail center,” said County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. “With the new University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center and the Blue Line Metro Station, downtown Largo is critical for our economic development vision along the Blue Line Corridor. With increasing market demand of rental property, exercising our Right of First Refusal program is not only helping us to protect and expand quality, safe homes that residents of all incomes can afford, but also plays a key role in contributing to the creation and preservation of healthy and inclusive communities where access to opportunity is increased.” 

“Insight is thrilled to partner with Prince George’s County, AHC and FCP on this acquisition, where we will be able to create much-needed affordable housing in an exceptional location,” said Tim White, Partner at Insight Property Group.

“FCP is excited to continue investing in our home market with the acquisition of a well-maintained and high performing asset in one of the top submarkets in suburban Maryland,” said FCP’s Scott Reibstein. “As part of our commitment to the preservation of moderately priced apartment communities in the Washington, DC region, we plan to offer resident services and implement affordability requirements to a portion of the units.”

About AHC

Founded in 1975, AHC Inc. is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing that provides quality homes plus education programs and social services for low-and moderate-income families. Based in Arlington, VA, AHC has developed more than 7,800 apartment units in 50+ properties in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. AHC’s Resident Services program reaches 3,000 children, teens, adults, and seniors each year. For more information, visit www.ahcinc.org

About Insight Property Group

About Insight Property Group: Insight Property Group acquires and develops mixed-use and residential communities in the Washington Metropolitan area. Since its inception in 2009, it has built a broad portfolio of housing including affordable, workforce, mixed-use and luxury rental communities as well as infill for-sale townhomes. With more than $1.5 billion in investments, Insight has purchased, re-positioned and constructed more than 4,800 residential units and 200,000 square feet of commercial space with another 1,250 units and 120,000 sf of retail in the immediate pipeline. The company is recognized for delivering memorable, neighborhood-centric projects that create strong returns for its partners. For more information, visit www.insightpropertygroupllc.com.

About FCP

FCP® is a privately held real estate investment company that has invested in or financed more than $9.3 billion in assets since its founding in 1999. FCP invests directly and with operating partners in commercial and residential assets. The firm makes equity and mezzanine investments in income-producing and development properties. Based in Chevy Chase, MD, FCP invests both its commingled, discretionary funds and separate accounts targeted at major real estate markets in the United States. For further information on FCP, please visit www.fcpdc.com