Baldwin House Community Collective

Building permanent affordable housing and mutual aid hub for working class Washingtonians in DC.

We are buying an apartment building to turn into affordable housing and a mutual aid hub so that working class Washingtonians can stay in the place they call home.

In a small apartment building near Howard University, a familiar story is unfolding. While a group of Black, brown, and low-income tenants have been surviving compounding crises during the pandemic, the landlord hopes to sell the building for $2.5 million.The sale would have pushed residents out and convert the building into expensive units.Tenants and organizers mobilized to create a different ending to the story. We are purchasing the building and establishing an affordable housing cooperative and mutual aid hub called Baldwin House.

Our mission is to:

  • Create a space that enables people to stay in the neighborhood they call home

  • Collectively own their home and build equity in the process

  • Establish a center of mutual aid in the neighborhood

Grassroots Funding for Collective Ownership: The Baldwin House Community Fund

Rather than rely only on banks that would require an immense dollar amount in interest payments and fees, we’re creating a new process where neighbors and friends support tenants buying their building. Our goal is to raise $2.7 million through donations, recoverable grants, and a community mortgage to acquire the building and fund immediate repairs and renovations that the building needs. The Baldwin House Community Collective needs these funds by April 2023 in order to close on the building sale. If you’re interested in giving to The Baldwin House Community Fund, fill out this interest form.

This project will take a whole community to make it possible. Will you join us?

  • For donations under $1,000 use our Givebutter

  • For donations over $1,000, send us a wire

  • To make a recurring donation, donate via Patreon

Hear our lead organizer and current tenant Natacia Knapper describe the vision for Baldwin House:

Natacia is a longtime organizer and community builder in Ward 1. Hear them describe the project and its significance to their neighborhood in DC.

Want to get involved?

We welcome your support! We are eager for people to:

  • Join our outreach team to share this project with neighbors

  • Offer financial support, individually or through a foundation

  • Host fundraisers

  • Help manage our social media channels

  • Provide something we haven’t thought of!

We've already raised over $500,000 to make this happen.

We’re currently consulting with future co-op members and development partners on how to adapt the building to provide a mix of housing options, community space, and greenery.These are our goals this year:

Form a tenant organization to have the right to purchase the building.Done!
Negotiate contract terms with the seller. Sign the contract.Done!
Fundraise $125,000 for an initial earnest money deposit on the building.Done!
Fundraise $200,000 in financial support for current tenants. This supports their move if they choose not to stay in the co-op.Done!
Mobilize an outreach team to continue sharing this project with neighbors.Ongoing
Continue applying for grants for affordable housing, housing preservation, and Black-led organizations.Ongoing
Secure financing to purchase the building.In progress!
Fundraise additional funds to support construction costsSummer 2023
Continue to organize future co-op membersOngoing
Connect with other cooperative housing initiatives in DCOngoing

“Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.”

James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

About us

We are a team of local organizers from the Ward 1 DC Mutual Aid Network, a grassroots, community-led effort to take care of our neighbors. We are all committed to creating more tenant-owned affordable housing and learning how to make it a reality together. We bring our full experiences and skills to this effort, including in organizing, housing law, housing policy, co-op contracts, grant writing, fundraising, event planning, design, and development.

We are also collaborating closely with experts on affordable housing in DC, real estate, contract law, housing grants, property management, and more. We are grateful for their support in moving this project forward.Our collaborators:

North American Students of CooperationFiscal sponsor
Beloved Community IncubatorLegal advisors
Ella Jo Baker Intentional CommunityMentors and inspirers
Howard Fair Housing ClinicLegal advisors
Mi CasaDevelopment consultants
Page Southerland PageArchitect consultants
UDC Community Development Law ClinicLegal advisors
Embolden Real EstateDevelopment consultant
Studio Lyew & EMOTIVE ArchitectureProject design team

Our mission as a Nonprofit:
Center communities that have been historically excluded from generational property ownership.
Model intentional collective living and collective spaces that allows communities to safely grow, create, and thrive and provides an alternative to the cycle of displacement and gentrification.

Our Vision as a Nonprofit:
Learn and practice how to build concrete alternatives to commodified, displacement-driven housing by transforming a building that if sold would contribute to gentrification, cause significant harms to resident wellbeing, and create a cultural loss for the community.

© Baldwin House Community Cooperative. All rights reserved.