Inaugural Solarthon Benefits Affordable Homes in Maryland
Monica Warren-Jones, Chris VanArsdale, and Nicole Steele celebrated the Solarthon project through a red conduit-cutting event. Photo Source: GRID Alternative Mid-Atlantic
Sun Crest Heights, the soon to be affordable home to more than 140 low- and moderate-income residents, is now also home to the largest roof-mount residential solar system in Prince George’s County, just outside of D.C.
The property received a complete makeover as nonprofit GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic hosted its inaugural Solarthon, a solar installation block party and fundraiser on October 16.
The 250kW system will prevent the emission of 6,520 tons of greenhouse gases over the next 25 years and generate significant savings on energy bills, which will be used to improve living spaces and energy efficiency.
The upgrades were part of an ongoing process to transform the building into a safe, sustainable and affordable community. The developer and owner, Chris VanArsdale of VNV Development and Stefanie Reiser of Align Development, have made tremendous improvements to the property, including upgrading the façade, installing a new community playground and making renovations to increase the number of bedrooms, update kitchens and bathrooms and improve interior finishes.
In support of the process, Enterprise Community Loan Fund provided a $4.1 million loan to preserve the affordability of Sun Crest’s 44 homes. The loan was part of Our Region, Your Investment, a local impact investing initiative we launched last year with the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers to address the Greater Washington region’s growing housing affordability challenges.
We’ve come a long way since then, raising and deploying more than $12 million in investment capital from community members, local foundations, banks and nonprofits to preserve nearly 500 affordable homes, including at Sun Crest Heights Apartments.
“Families living in an affordable home are less likely to forego a doctor’s appointment visit, medicine and all the other things they need to keep their children healthy,” said Monica Warren-Jones of Enterprise Community Loan Fund. “As a parent and an employee of Enterprise, it’s important to have a place to live that makes you feel good when you come home.”
Enterprise is also very grateful for support from the Maryland Department of Housing Community Development. DHCD invested in Enterprise and Prince George’s County through their Neighborhood Conservation Initiative, which allowed for Enterprise to support this important community.
Sun Crest Heights and the Solarthon are the latest examples of what becomes possible when we invest together in our local communities.