Honoring Volunteers of the Year

volunteer-of-the-year-honoreesAHC is deeply grateful to the volunteers who make such a difference to our students. This fall we celebrated our Volunteers of the Year and honored one individual (or group) from each of our primary groups of volunteers – After-School, Teen Tutoring and Student Volunteers.

“AHC is so fortunate to have hundreds of wonderful volunteers who work one-on-one with students who benefit greatly from their close attention and encouragement,” said Jennifer Endo, AHC’s Director of Resident Services. “Each of our Volunteers of the Year have gone above and beyond. Their commitment and enthusiasm is inspiring and has made such a difference to students’ overall success.”

AHC’s 2015 honorees are:

After-School Volunteer: Marilyn Jenkinson

Marilyn Jenkinson volunteered at Woodbury Park/Frederick community center and added a special spark to the curriculum by sharing her personal interests. An avid traveler, she brought students treasures from her trips like Florida oranges, and created her own lesson plan to teach students how to read maps. She developed a scavenger hunt and taught the students how to use rulers to find their schools and other local landmarks.  She thoroughly enjoyed the students’ enthusiasm and said she “wished every child in Arlington could have the opportunity to experience an after-school program like AHC’s.”

Student Volunteer: Talia Farrell-Rosen

Talia Farrell-Rosen, a high school senior, volunteered weekly at Gates of Ballston during the school year, helping with activities and homework. “Talia was consistently patient and understanding and has been a wonderful addition to our volunteering team,” said Lotus Chen, AHC Resident Services Manager. Talia also shared a distinctive skill with the students – dancing. As a competitive dancer, she taught the children about different types of dance, the types of shoes and costumes they wear, as well as stretches and dances. She also gave them the opportunity to free-dance to pop music, which they loved.

Teen Tutoring Volunteers: Team Estephani – Anne Blacksten, Jim and Terry Burridge and Carl Dohrman

Estephani Santander graduated from high school last spring with multiple scholarships and credits her “dream team” of tutors for much of her success. Estephani’s group of dedicated tutors includes Anne Blacksten, who has worked with Estephani since 6th grade; Jim and Terry Burridge, who tutored and mentored Estephani throughout her high school career; and Carl Dohrman, the math guru of the group. The tutors in “Team Estephani” worked together to build consistency and maximize their support for Estephani. “I think the students benefit a lot from so much one-on-one assistance from caring, high-quality tutors,” says Mr. Dohrman. The consistency helps to build relationships between volunteers and students, which can be key to making a difference in the student’s attitudes towards school.”

Photo caption: From left to right: Patti Sanner, AHC Reading Specialist; Talia Farrell-Rosen, volunteer; Terry Burridge, volunteer; Carl Dohrman, volunteer; Jim Burridge, volunteer; Becky Koons, AHC Resident Services Manager; Anne Blacksten, volunteer; Elizabeth Bonner, former AHC Resident Services Manager; and Marilyn Jenkinson, volunteer.   

 

 

Banner Year for AHC Students

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(August 15, 2015 – Arlington, VA) – AHC students had a banner year in all three of our education programs –  Teen Tutoring, After-School for elementary students and Summer Camp.

In the Teen Tutoring program, all nine of the seniors  graduated from high school and, impressively, they are all planning to go to college. Together, they earned nearly $50,000 in scholarships and grants. This marks the seventh year in a row that all of the seniors in AHC’s Teen Program successfully graduated from high school. To date, AHC has helped nearly 70 teens graduate from high school.

Many achieved this milestone while holding down jobs, overseeing younger siblings, or becoming proficient in English, a language not always spoken at home. Their hopes and dreams are impressive. Students’ goals include studying forensic science, engineering, behavioral science, medicine, and teaching. “We are so proud of all of teens,” said Jennifer Endo, AHC’s Director of Resident Services. “It really does take a village; and our village of wonderful volunteers, mentors, staff and teachers have all played a part in helping these young people reach their potential.”

The Teen Program is designed to help middle and high school students stay in school and maximize their options after high school. The program includes one-on-one tutoring, mentoring, college visits, SAT test prep, help with scholarship and financial aid applications, and a variety of enriching experiences. Sixty-four youth participated in the Teen Program during the 2014/2015 school year.

AHC’s After-School Program, which focuses on building elementary students’ literacy skills, included 115 youth in 2014/2015. Students made impressive strides. Nearly all (96%) of the students who were assessed at the beginning and end of the year improved their reading level by at least one full grade and/or are reading at or above grade level.

To help ensure struggling readers don’t get left behind, AHC employs two reading specialists to work one-on-one for 30 minutes each week with students who are not reading at grade level. The individualized program  includes games and activities that build fluency and comprehension. The personalized approach has been a real success. This year, our specialists worked with 28 struggling readers. Thanks to their help, all of the students made at least a year’s worth of progress, and six children advanced more than a year.

Students in AHC’s Summer Camp program also made strides. Research shows that low-income students can lose more than two months of reading and math skills during the summer. AHC’s Summer Camp, which combines learning and fun, aims to prevent that learning loss. The six-week program is making a difference.

During the 2014 camp, 92% of the students tested showed no loss or some gain in reading levels and 83% maintained math skills. This year’s theme, Careers in the Arts, combines technology and performance opportunities with creative activities, lots of learning  and cultural experiences like field trips.

Along with students’ hard work, our hundreds of volunteers are integral to the program’s success. We are grateful to the many volunteers and more than 30 community partners who generously give their time and effort. Last year, 266 volunteers worked 4,537 hours with our students!

Two long-time tutors are making a particularly generous impact on our students. In 2013, Joanna Miller and Roger Brown started a four-year scholarship exclusively for AHC Teen Tutoring participants. This year’s scholarship was awarded to Estefani Santander. The Wakefield graduate, who has been in AHC’s education program for 10 years, hopes to attend Northern Virginia Community College to study education. For more information on how to contribute to the Joy Rambert AHC Inc. scholarship to benefit our hard-working graduates, visit the Arlington Community Foundation website.

For more details on AHC’s education programs and student activities, click here for the Resident Services 2014-2015 Report Card.

Photo left to right: Angel Lara, center, with AHC staff members Elizabeth Bonner (left) and Triny Lemus (right) has been in AHC’s education programs since 3rd grade. Angel graduated in 2015 and is planning to attend Northern Virginia Community College to study Photography and Forensic Science. 

HAND Honors Walter D. Webdale with Lifetime Achievement Award

Walter Webdale

June 23, 2015 – Arlington, VA) – The Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND) today presented AHC Inc.’s President and CEO Walter D. Webdale with the prestigious President’s Choice Award, which honors lifetime achievement in the affordable housing industry. The award was announced during HAND’s Annual Meeting that gathered together more than 1,000 affordable housing professionals and advocates from the Washington, DC, metro region.

Mr. Webdale has been in the affordable housing business for more than 50 years. He was just 22 when he and his brother, with capital borrowed from their grandmother, purchased and redeveloped an old stone barn into three townhouses in western New York. A few years later he landed his first housing job when he was named Director of Urban Renewal and Director of the Housing Authority in Batavia, NY.  A pioneer in the field of urban renewal, Mr. Webdale directed the redevelopment of the Glen Cove, NY business district as well as the revitalization of the Hudson riverfront in Yonkers, NY.  In 1971, he joined the New York State Urban Development Corporation as Director of Projects for the Westchester County Office.

In 1974, Mr. Webdale moved his young family to Reston, Virginia where he became the first director of the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development, a position he held until 1999. During his tenure, the agency won national recognition as a leader and innovator in affordable housing, earning more than 40 awards for project design, community development, property management and affordable housing finance.

He became President and CEO of AHC Inc. in 1999. Under his leadership, AHC has more than quadrupled its multifamily housing portfolio from 1,600 units at 13 properties in 1999 to more than 6,500 units at 50 properties today.  In 2001, Mr. Webdale developed AHC’s first multifamily property outside of Arlington.  Today, AHC has 22 multifamily properties outside of Arlington, including eight in the Baltimore area and six in Montgomery County.  During his tenure, AHC opened an office in Baltimore, established its own property management company, and more than doubled the Resident Services community outreach programs.

Prior to joining AHC, Mr. Webdale was Director of the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development for 25 years.  During his tenure, the agency won national recognition as a leader and innovator in affordable housing, earning more than 40 awards for project design, community development, property management and affordable housing finance.

“Walter has been a true and long-standing supporter of our organization and our cause,” said Michelle Krocker, Executive Director, Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance. “His well-regarded leadership and support for affordable housing have made a lasting impact on housing opportunities for low- and-moderate income families throughout Northern Virginia.”

Mr. Webdale is a past board member of the National Housing Conference, a past president and past board member of the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA) and the National Association of County, Community and Economic Development Associations (NACCED). He also served on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Housing and Development Reporter.

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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.

 

AHC Renames Gates of Ballston Community Center to Honor the Rinkers

ahc-inc-charlie-and-laura-rinker-community-center-dedication

(June 5, 2015 – Arlington, VA) – AHC Inc. today dedicated the Gates of Ballston Community Center to Charlie and Lora Rinker to honor their 40+ years of working tirelessly for social justice in Arlington. Thanks to their efforts, countless Arlingtonians live in affordable homes and those needing emergency shelter can find a warm bed and decent meal in a clean, safe place.

“After Charlie’s death, AHC decided to honor Charlie and Lora in a more permanent way, and we felt there was no better place to do that than here at The Gates of Ballston,” said AHC President and CEO Walter D. Webdale.  “Charlie was instrumental in saving this beautiful 17-acre property from redevelopment so that it could remain affordable to young singles, families with children, and retirees.  He devoted his life to advocating for affordable housing for low-income families and individuals. Lora, too, believed in stable and decent housing and she focused her energies on establishing and running a shelter for the homeless and providing needed services for those in greatest need.”

Charlie was committed to preserving affordable housing in Arlington and co-founded AHC Inc. (Arlington Housing Corporation) in 1975.  He later co-founded A-HOME (Affordable Homeownership for Everyone), and BRAVO (Buyers and Renters Arlington Voice) to give low-income residents more housing choices and a public voice.  Charlie was instrumental in saving The Gates of Ballston from conversion to market rate housing in 2001, making it possible for AHC Inc. to purchase the property in 2002 and preserve it as affordable housing.

Lora shared Charlie’s passion for social change.  While raising her young family, she co-directed the Center for New Creation, a peace and justice center.  She began to focus on hunger and homelessness in the 1980s, handing out food to those in need from her front porch.  In 1991 she co-founded A-SPAN (Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network) and served as its first Executive Director until 2007.  During those years, she also created Arlington’s first emergency winter shelter for the homeless.

Attendees included community activists, local leaders and members of the Rinker family who described how important social justice was to Lora and Charlie. “Both my parents were very much role models,” said Jeremy Rinker. “They exemplified the philosophy that one person could make a real difference.”

Also on hand at the ceremony were County Board members Mary Hynes, Jay Fisette, Walter Tejada and Libby Garvey, along with state Sen. Barbara Favola and former Virginia Del. Karen Darner.

Many of the same attendees had gathered at the Gates of Ballston in December when Senator Favola presented the Rinkers with Joint Resolutions from the Virginia General Assembly for their “leadership and devotion to the community.”

Photo left to right: Walter D. Webdale, Matthew Rinker, Natalie Rose, Lora Rinker, Jeremy Rinker and State Sen. Barbara Favola. 

AHC Inc. Boosts Housing Opportunities For Low- to Moderate-Income Families with $331 Million Invested in VA-MD-DC Region

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(January 23, 2015 – Arlington, VA) – Bucking the trend of apartment communities in the Washington region becoming less affordable, AHC Inc., a regional affordable housing developer, closed on eight multifamily transactions in 2014 with a total development value of  $331 million and containing more than 1,400 units — pushing AHC’s total multifamily portfolio above 6,500 units.

AHC also has two affordable apartment projects under construction – The 83-unit Shell in Arlington and the 78-unit Jackson Crossing in Alexandria.

“Not only is AHC broadening its reach in terms of the people we serve, but we are also working hard to create and implement innovative development strategies that go beyond traditional affordable housing financing tools to make us more nimble in today’s highly competitive marketplace,” said Walter D. Webdale, AHC President and CEO. “The reality is that the need for affordable housing continues to expand in our region for such disparate groups as senior citizens, working parents and recent college graduates. AHC’s goal is to leverage our 40 years of experience to create development opportunities and then execute those opportunities with the tools and resources that will get the job done.”

AHC’s 2014 projects include the acquisition of six existing rental communities containing 975 apartments, construction of 76 rental townhomes, and the redevelopment of an existing AHC-owned, 364-unit, historic property.  The apartments are primarily located in the metro region’s high cost-of-living rental submarkets in Arlington, VA and Montgomery County, MD, along with developments in the District of Columbia and Baltimore.  The properties provide homes for households with a variety of incomes, ranging from conventional affordability levels (50% and 60% maximum Area Median Incomes) to workforce housing (80% AMI) to full market-rate.

The projects utilized a variety of financing strategies, reflecting the challenges involved in assembling funding in the current marketplace. Several transactions were completed with innovative financing structures that relied heavily on market-rate tools and deal structuring techniques.

In Arlington, VA, for example, AHC partnered with such organizations as Freddie Mac, Arlington County and the Low-Income Investment Fund (LIIF) to create a financing structure that did not rely on the traditional affordable housing tools of Low Income Housing Tax Credits or tax-exempt bonds. The structure enabled AHC to move quickly in a competitive marketplace to successfully preserve two mixed-income properties with a total of 380 units near the gentrifying Columbia Pike area. And, in another non-traditional partnership, AHC joined with Housing Partnership Equity Trust (HPET), a social purpose real estate investment trust to acquire Woodleaf, a 228-unit apartment community in Silver Spring, MD.

AHC also made full use of existing affordable housing tools by pulling together funding from a variety of sources. For instance, AHC combined Low Income Tax Credits, tax-exempt bonds and Historic Tax Credits to finance the $110 million renovation of Woodbury Park, a 1940s historic garden-style community with 364 mixed-income apartments in Arlington, VA. The extensive financing package did not require local housing funds from Arlington County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF).

Along with more mixed-income projects, AHC’s 2014 developments also provide housing for a range of audiences, including a 55+ community in Silver Spring, a rental townhouse community for families in Baltimore’s southeast side, a Section 8 property in Baltimore City, and AHC’s first partnership in Washington, DC.

AHC’s 2014 projects included:

ahc-inc-Serrano-serrano-exterior-3xThe Serrano, Arlington, VA, $63.4 million, 280 units, mixed-income housing. The Serrano, 280-units in two buildings on Columbia Pike, is one of the first large-scale projects in Arlington to focus on workforce housing – half of the apartments will be affordable to households earning 80% Area Median Income (AMI). Twenty percent of the units (56) will be affordable to 60% AMI. The remaining 30% (84) will be unrestricted, market-rate homes. The innovative financing strategy did not rely on the traditional affordable housing financing tools of Low Income Housing Tax Credits or tax-exempt bonds. Instead, the plan included a senior loan guaranteed by Freddie Mac through Walker and Dunlop, subordinate debt from Arlington County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) and an equity investment comprised of AHC funds plus funds borrowed by AHC from the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF).

ahc-inc-Spectrum-Apartments-Spectrum-exteriorThe Spectrum, Arlington, VA, $22 million, 100 units, mixed-income housingThe Spectrum is a 100-unit high-rise apartment complex on Arlington’s western edge. The building is a market-rate property with all rents currently affordable to families earning 65% to 85% AMI. AHC intends to preserve 80 of the 100 units as committed affordable units for families earning 50% to 80% of AMI. The remaining 20 units will remain unrestricted to help support the affordable apartments. An innovative subordinate debt structure with Arlington County, similar to that used at the Serrano, replaced the traditional financing tools. Financing also includes a first trust debt guaranteed by Freddie Mac and AHC equity.

ahc-inc-woodleafWoodleaf Apartments, Silver Spring, MD, $33.5 million, 228 units, workforce housingAHC partnered with Housing Partnership Equity Trust (HPET), a social purpose real estate investment trust created by the Housing Partnership Network, to acquire Woodleaf Apartments. The 228-unit apartment community is comprised of one and two-bedroom apartment homes in the White Oak area of Silver Spring. AHC’s purchase of Woodleaf in collaboration with HPET, will preserve affordable units at the property. HPET is the first affordable housing REIT created and managed by nonprofits; AHC is one of 12 nonprofit housing developers in the collaborative. Woodleaf is HPET’s first acquisition in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

ahc-inc-Woodbury-Park-Woodbury-Park---Best-9-08Woodbury Park, Arlington, VA, $110 million, 364 units, mixed-incomeAHC has begun a wholesale redevelopment of Woodbury Park,  a 1940s garden-style apartment community within ½ mile of two Metro Stations, multiple bus routes and a broad mix of retail options. The restoration of the property, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, includes new major building systems, fixtures, appliances and finishes.  The property includes a mix of 204 income- restricted units and 160 market-rate apartments. Financing includes privately placed tax-exempt bonds issued by Arlington County Industrial Development Authority, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity and federal and state Historic Tax Credits. The financing package did not require local housing funds from Arlington County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF).

ahc-inc-Keys-Pointe-key's-PointeKey’s Pointe, Baltimore MD, $20.8 million, 76 rental townhomes, mixed-incomeAHC Greater Baltimore completed the first phase, 76 rental townhomes, of a massive revitalization of a 62-acre, 1940s public housing community on Baltimore’s southeast side. Half of the units are deeply affordable using a Project-Based Section 8 contract with 27 reserved for current and former public housing families.  The remaining units are affordable to families earning up to 50% of AMI. The homes are the first new development in the Southeast Baltimore neighborhood for many years. Partners in the project include The Michaels Development Company and the Housing Authority of Baltimore (HABC). Financing includes 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity, Rental Housing Funds from the State of Maryland and a long-term ground lease from HABC. The multi-phase project will ultimately create a mixed-income community with a blend of more than 900 rental and homeownership opportunities.

ahc-inc-Charter-House-02-Charter-House---web_eCharter House, Silver Spring, MD, $19.7 million, 212 units, mixed-income senior housing. Charter House is an age-restricted (55+), income-restricted apartment community in downtown Silver Spring within walking distance of the Silver Spring Metro Station. The property is financed with tax-exempt bonds and subordinated debt from the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs. The property includes a mix of incomes: 20% of the apartments are restricted to households earning up to 50% AMI, 55% of the units are for households earning up to 80% AMI and 25% of the apartments are unrestricted.

ahc-inc-maderaMadera Apartments, Baltimore, MD, $9 million, 47 units, 100% Project-Based Section 8 Housing. Madera is a 47-unit community with 13 one-bedroom and 34 two-bedroom apartments in Baltimore’s Park Heights neighborhood. An extensive rehabilitation is slated for 2015, including adding central air conditioning, new windows and doors, roof replacement, new wheelchair accessible units, Energy Star lighting and kitchen appliances. Financing included FHA insured mortgage, 4% Low-Income Tax Credit tax exempt bonds and funding from the Low-Income Investment Fund (LIIF).

ahc-inc-Key's-Pointe-Lincoln-Westmoreland-from-webLincoln Westmoreland, Washington, DC, $53 million, 108-unit renovation and 56 new units, affordable. AHC is partnering with Lincoln Westmoreland, a nonprofit affordable housing developer, to renovate its existing 108-unit high-rise building and construct a 56-unit affordable building on under-utilized adjacent land.  The projects will be financed with a combination of tax-exempt bonds, 4% Low-Income Tax Credit equity, owner equity and District of Columbia grants and subsidized loan. The project is AHC’s first partnership in Washington, DC. The development plan involves using a portion of the land of the 108-unit property to construct a new eight-story building with 56 apartments and ground-floor retail. Both properties will be 100% affordable at less than 60% Area Median Income.

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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 49 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.