Monday, January 28, 2013

Lincoln Westmoreland II to Exit Section 8 Program in May

The Lincoln Westmoreland II (LW-II) apartment complex will end its participation in the project-based Section 8 program starting on May 1, 2013, according to a representative of the complex's owner. 

Under the Section 8 program, all of the LW-II apartment units were set aside for low-income households (generally those earning 50% or less of the area median income).  After May 1, the income restriction will end and units can be leased out at the market rate.

However, current tenants will receive individual Section 8 vouchers that will enable them to stay in their units with their current subsidies.  (The vouchers can also be used at other apartment buildings in the District and Maryland.  The voucher will pay the difference between 30% of the household's income and the price of a so-called moderately-priced housing unit — an amount the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development calculates as approximately $1,400 for a two-bedroom unit.)  As the LW-II apartments become vacant, however, the units will be rented at the market rate.  A representative of the owner stated that there are no current plans to redevelop the property.

Lincoln Westmoreland II, on 8th Street, NW, between R Street and S Street
[click image to enlarge]

LW-II is a relatively low-density, 121-unit garden-style apartment complex located in two sets of buildings on 8th Street, NW, between R Street and S Street.  The complex — which is comprised of 30 1-bedroom units, 71 2-bedroom units, and 20 3-bedroom units — has been part of the Section 8 program since it was constructed about 30 years ago.  It is also adjacent to the Lincoln Westmoreland apartment tower on 7th Street, another Section 8 project.  (Despite sharing very similar names, the buildings are owned by different companies.)

Regarding the May 1 deadline, it bears noting that the owners of the LW-II have announced in prior years that the complex would end its participation in the Section 8 program, but did not follow through with those announcements.  In addition, the owners previously provided notice that the LW-II would end its participation in the program at the end of January 2013, but then extended the deadline until May.  The owner's representative has indicated, however, that the Section 8 termination notice will not be rescinded, and contract will actually terminate in May.

If the owner follows through with its termination of the Section 8 project, the near-term future of the LW-II may well be similar to the recent past of the Washington Apartments complex on 7th and 6th Streets, NW.  The Washington Apartments complex (another low-density garden style apartment complex, with over 260 units) ended its participation in the Section 8 program about 10 years ago.  The residents were also able to stay in their units with Section 8 vouchers, while vacant units were rented out at the market rate.  Currently, about one-third of the units continue to be occupied by Section 8 tenants while the remainder of the units are market rate.  The property has not been redeveloped.

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