Testimony of Meg Maguire, Chair, NWOP CDC

PR25-0072, the “Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development Colleen Green Confirmation Resolution of 2023”


Tuesday, March 14th, 2023, 10:00 AM

            Thank you for this opportunity to testify in favor of the nomination of Colleen Green as Director of DHCD.  I am Meg Maguire, Chair of NW Opportunity Partners CDC.  Our mission is to reverse the historic racial inequities of removal and exclusion of Black residents in Ward 3 by expanding affordable housing and economic opportunities; and by sharing any benefits of our work with other community-led organizations citywide.

In short, we seek to make NW DC and Ward 3 an economically and racially inclusive community, overcoming a history of racial covenants and racial segregation.

We welcome Director Green as an ally in our mission.  Her background and impressive track record in housing, finance, real estate, and community development bode well for her success in managing DHCD.  To shore up confidence in the agency’s transparency, we urge that she works with CNHED (Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development) to ensure that the income goals of the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF) are met, and to erase any hint of favoritism in grant decisions. 

During the past year, NWOP has focused on the critical need to buy land on which to build affordable housing. Unless and until we acquire land, we will never be able to meet even a fraction of the mayor’s goal of 1990 units of for new affordable housing in Ward 3 by 2025.   We have consulted frequently with DMPED in drafting the Affordable Housing Property Acquisition Fund to acquire land in areas of the city that are deficient in affordable housing.   Councilmember Matt Frumin has requested $100 million for this purpose in FY 2024, and we strongly urge that the mayor include it in her budget. (The Fund proposal is attached, and we ask that it be included as part of this testimony.)

Ward 3 is full of promise. Friendship Heights is redeveloping. Educational institutions are expanding. Extensive planning is underway.  In short, opportunities to create vibrant, diverse communities abound.

Director Green, we are inviting you to take an “Opportunity Tour” of Friendship Heights in late April as your schedule permits.  As you walk around this once-thriving center you will be astonished at the number of retail vacancies, the size of both the current WMATA garage and its future site at Lord and Taylor, and so much more. Friendship Heights is an opportunity waiting to happen.

We ask you to become an active partner in Ward 3 so that those who work here can also live here –– grocery workers, health care and child-care workers, beauticians and barbers, construction workers, teachers’ aides & those living on extremely low or fixed incomes.  For this is the way to realize racial and economic equity in our city.

Thank you.

We believe in the power of shared vision and sustained commitment to create dynamic communities for all people, regardless of income.

NW Opportunity Partners Community Development Corporation