Low-income D.C. residents who bought building four decades ago for $75K could sell it for $2M

Dollita Okine November 24, 2023
Joanne Jenkins, Bettie Perry, Earlie Hendricks, and Janice Washington still live in the building. Photo credit: Theresa Vargas/Washington Post

Joanne Jenkins, Bettie Perry, Earlie Hendricks, and Janice Washington never thought their investment would pay off so well. 

Hendricks moved into the building in 1971, Jenkins followed a year later, Washington joined in 1983, and Perry joined in 1984. The women talked about their $89.50 monthly rent and the legal help they obtained to secure their property purchase. 

They still reside in the apartment building they purchased in 1983, but according to the Washington Post, the building they bought for $75,000 is now worth close to $2 million.

The group couldn’t afford a lawyer at the time, so they turned to University Legal Services for assistance in obtaining city loans to support the acquisition and subsequent improvements.

Forty years later, the simple six-unit building in Northwest Washington, DC, has come to occupy a special place in the hearts of these women, who have weathered life’s storms within its walls.

With the oldest woman being 97 years old and the others in their 70s, getting up the stairs to their flat has become a challenge and so the women must bid farewell to the place they have called home for so long. 

The women have been more than simply neighbors for many years; they have lived as a family, raising children together, watching out for each other’s well-being, and experiencing life’s pleasures and sorrows together. Their joint efforts have resulted in an impressive creation that embodies grit and camaraderie.

Together, they witnessed the area go from a scene of open drug use to a more tranquil, welcoming neighborhood. Though it is difficult to say goodbye, selling the building now provides an opportunity to reap the benefits of decades of meticulous maintenance.

They look forward to reaping the rewards of their years of hard work. They remember the long commutes to government offices and the continual upkeep as if it were a second job.

The Washington Post noted that similar buildings in the Park View neighborhood where their home is are fetching over a million dollars today, with some even reaching two million. 

The women have hired Noelle-Kristine Spencer of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty to help them list the property publicly. Jane Brown, Executive Director of University Legal Services, lauded the women’s building as a success story that has offered permanent accommodation for four decades.

Currently, the organization’s objectives have changed from buying real estate to preserving and refurbishing structures that were purchased with city support. 

As the four prepare to leave their home, Hendricks wants to relocate to a senior housing facility in the city, with Perry accompanying her and Washington hoping to join them later. Jenkins, however, is looking for a single-story home in Maryland

Even as they bid farewell to a location that has been their home for so long, their relationship remains unbroken, and they look forward to fresh beginnings.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: November 24, 2023


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