From Poverty to Possibility, One Family at a Time

24 Apr

JubileeHousing_51This guest post by Renise Walker, Director of Resident Life at Jubilee Housing in Washington, DC, originally appeared on Investing in What Works for America’s Communities.

Before moving into Jubilee Housing, Angela Marable and her daughter, Asia DeCosta, moved constantly. They slept on the couches of family members and reached out to friends when their welcome wore out.

At their lowest point, Angela was sleeping on the streets, separated from her 9-year-old daughter. The instability weighed heavily on Asia, leaving her struggling academically and behaviorally.

For years, Angela wrestled with drug addiction. Although she was fighting hard to recover, she was stuck, unable to afford housing without a stable job, and unsure of how to turn her life around.

The day Angela received the key to her apartment at Jubilee Housing’s Fuller building was the first time her name was on a lease of her own. The move into the apartment was a momentous occasion, but for Angela and Asia, the journey to a better life was far from over.

For Angela’s family and the hundreds of others who have found hope, opportunity and dignity through Jubilee housing, there are no easy answers or quick fixes. Too often these families seek a different way of life, yet find themselves in a constant struggle to overcome setbacks. Despite the challenges, families can rely on the anchor of safe, affordable housing and the expanded hope that comes from stability and a sense of belonging.

Now, Jubilee Housing – long-established as a pioneer in affordable housing – is teaming up with community partners to use its expertise in housing as a platform to provide additional opportunities and hope to hundreds more families like Angela and Asia. The collaboration is called Jubilee Life.

When fully developed, Jubilee Life will provide 299 affordable apartment homes with access to a range of support and services in community spaces just downstairs from the families who need this helping hand.

Through a partnership with Life Assets and Capitol Area Asset Builders, residents will have access to a community credit union and economic empowerment center. In addition, two remodeled townhouses will provide transitional housing and intensive services for men and women returning to the community from previous incarceration. Jubilee’s newest building, the Maycroft, will serve as the hub for family services by providing an additional 64 affordable apartments and new community spaces that will house a range of services for both parents and their children.

A partnership with Jubilee Jumpstart, an early childhood development center, Jubilee Life will provide on-site early childhood education for up to 54 children six weeks to five years old, and a new teen services center will offer space for 30 youth to engage in out-of-school time programming.

In addition, a state-of-the-art Family Resource Center will offer home visitations, parenting support groups and classes, assistance navigating school options, one-on-one coaching, and personal and economic empowerment programming.

The story of Jubilee Housing is on pages 69-78 of Making Housing Happen. You can read an excerpt here, and get the book from Wipf and Stock Publishers.

Photo: Courtesy of Jubilee Housing

One Response to “From Poverty to Possibility, One Family at a Time”


  1. From Poverty to Possibility, One Family at a Time – Part Two | MAKING HOUSING HAPPEN - April 25, 2014

    […] guest post is by Renise Walker, Director of Resident Life at Jubilee Housing in Washington, DC. In Part One, Renise described how a new initiative, Jubilee Life, is helping families turn their lives around. […]

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