Mayor Bowser Celebrates the Opening of The Ethel, a Permanent Supportive Housing Building in Hill East
Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, District leaders, and community members celebrated the opening of The Ethel, a new building in Hill East that will provide 100 units of permanent supportive housing for residents exiting homelessness. In addition to housing, the Ethel will offer residents on-site services to help them settle into their new community.
“The Ethel is more than an apartment, it is a sanctuary – it is a place where residents can finally feel at home and build a sense of community,” said Mayor Bowser. “I’m grateful that our teams came together to make this project happen. We know these homes are going to transform the lives of the residents who will live here. Today, we’re one step closer to making homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring.”
A space designed for wellbeing, The Ethel offers fitness facilities, cooking classes, a clothing closet, hair salon, and on-site caseworkers who will assist in connecting residents with a range of services from healthcare to professional development. The building is widely accessible and designed to be inclusive of people with differing abilities.
“The Ethel — and the adjacent Park Kennedy — demonstrate what we can do together when we work together by delivering affordable housing at the deepest levels and neighborhood-serving retail,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) John Falcicchio. “These first two new buildings at Hill East provide a blueprint for the rest of the site and even for what we can do together at our RFK.”
Ethel, which was initially proposed and approved to be a mixed-use building with some affordable housing and ground-floor retail, is part of the Mayor’s commitment to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring. In 2021, Mayor Bowser released Homeward DC 2.0, which focuses on replicating the success in the family system, which has led to 78% reduction in family homelessness. As part of the strategy, the Mayor opened the new 801 Men’s Shelter on the St. Elizabeths East campus in January of 2022 and the new shelter for LGBTQ+ residents in July of 2022.
“The residents of The Ethel will begin the next steps of their journeys in their own homes. The design of this space is particularly special in the ways it supports the overall wellbeing of its residents,” said DHS Director Laura Green Zeilinger. “The District continues to advance strong ideas and solutions that we know work to end homelessness for residents – and The Ethel is one example of our progress.”
The Ethel is a part of the Hill East redevelopment project, a transit-oriented development steps away from three modes of transportation, the Stadium-Armory Metro Station, metro bus route, and Capital Bikeshare. The building, which is adjacent to the RFK Campus, is named in honor of Ethel Kennedy and her legacy as a humanitarian and civil rights activist. Phase 1 of the Hill East redevelopment project has delivered two buildings, The Ethel and Park Kennedy, which together offer 362 units of housing, including 100 units of permanent supportive housing and 31 units of traditional affordable housing. It also includes over 24,000 square feet of combined retail space. Two restaurants, Sala Thai and Duffy’s Irish Pub, have signed leases and are currently building out their spaces in Hill East.