[Baldwin House] Launching Community Fund
We’re alive! This project is still kicking! We’ve successfully negotiated an extension with the building’s seller, and now we are ready for the next stage of building revolutionary structures to circumvent harmful systems and create more sustainable and accessible avenues for tenants to buy their buildings, both for Baldwin House and beyond. If you are newer to the project, welcome and feel free to scroll down for some quick history of this effort.
In short: We made it to the next step in this hard-fought organizing journey, and we are inviting you to help us assemble a “Community Fund” that will liberate this project from the downsides and restrictions of a traditional bank loan. Read on for more info!
We’ve shown the power of community organizing and the passion for creating affordable housing here, but lenders have still been hesitant to fund a not-for-profit project like this in this current market. We risk losing the building if we depend entirely on bank financing (not to mention the fact that we’d have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest in the long run!!), so we’ve shifted to a new model: a Community Fund.
We’re creating a new process where neighbors and friends support tenants to buy their building. While this has a well-established practice in the solidarity economy, this is the first project to pursue this financing model for a housing cooperative in Washington, DC. Our goal is to raise $2.7 million to purchase the building to become Baldwin House and fund critical repairs. We are seeking pledges by April 1st, and seeking funds to be transferred by May 1st, 2023.
There are 3 ways to contribute to this effort:
Community mortgage at 0% interest with a lump sum repayment at year 5 (note: you must be an accredited investor to participate)
Recoverable grant through a DAF at 0% interest with expected payback within 5 years
Donations through personal funds or a Donor Advised Fund (DAF)
Already, we have raised over $450,000 in pledges from allies and community members. Please consider contributing to close the gap to purchase the building, to establish a tenant-owned housing cooperative and mutual aid hub. This is our final opportunity - if we are unable to raise the total funds, we would lose the building, likely to a luxury real estate developer. Join us in this bold new approach to help keep working-class Washingtonians in their homes by directly financing the establishment of this limited equity housing cooperative that will provide permanent affordable housing.
Would you (and/or someone you know) be interested in talking more about contributing $50,000 or more to Baldwin House?
If you are interested, fill out this interest form with some basic information, and we’ll start the process. More info about the specifics of the community fund can be found in our FAQ.
If you are interested in contributing a smaller amount, we recommend donating through our GiveButter account here (for <$1,000) and directly to us here (for >$1,000).
Baldwin House is an effort in DC to buy a mixed-use, multifamily building at 2572 Sherman Avenue NW and transform it into tenant-owned affordable housing and a mutual aid hub.
Out of necessity and collective effort, we have navigated the TOPA process in a way we haven't seen before in our community. We staved off an attempt to displace the tenants of the building (including Natacia!) right before Christmas 2021; fundraised enough money to pay back rent and prevent evictions; became our own developers when no one had capacity to partner with us on a building that’s considered small; supported tenants who didn’t want to (or couldn’t) stay to pursue their next steps (including homeownership!); and cultivated an incredible organizing team of future coop members and neighbors working in solidarity. We have raised more than $500,000 from our neighbors and comrades in direct, grassroots donations. We’ve made it so far to get us this far!
We need as many allies and accomplices as possible to build a future where housing is affordable and Black and brown communities are secure. The success of this project will set an example for how other tenants can collectively own their homes and take profit out of housing. Please let us know soon if you plan to join us. And if you cannot give to our Community Fund, you can find other ways to support us. To get involved with our organizing team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much for your consideration. This is it!