Metro Weekly

The DC Center and Capital Pride Alliance Find New Home

Larger venue will allow D.C.'s LGBTQ community center to expand its program offerings and support services.

Pride flag, lgbtq
Photo by Markus Spiske, via Pexels.

The DC Center for the LGBT Community, the District’s LGBTQ-specific community center, and Capital Pride Alliance have jointly signed a lease for a new headquarters at 1827 Wiltberger St. NW, located near the intersections of the city’s Shaw and LeDroit Park neighborhoods, and will move into the new building next summer.

The 6,671-square foot, ADA-compliant and accessible space, which is currently being designed for buildout by the architecture firm Hickock Cole, with The DC Center’s specific needs in mind, will include 10 offices and multiple co-working stations. The design of the new space will incorporate vetted and green-certified materials to meet and surpass the DC Green Construction and Energy Code’s sustainable standards, seeking to minimize the building’s environmental footprint.

The construction of the new space is made possible by a $1 million grant from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, and is expected to wrap up by mid-2023. The lease was secured with the help of consultant partners representing The DC Center and Capital Pride Alliance, Elizabeth Birch and James Dennin of the real estate firm CBRE, and Mendi Sossamon and Paul VanWagenen from Potomac Law Group, who served as legal counsel.

The new community center will be larger than The DC Center’s current offices, which are located at the Reeves Building on 14th Street NW, and will allow the organization to expand its community and service outreach and capacity.

The expanded space will house dedicated therapy rooms, a dedicated wellness space for meditation, yoga, and counseling, a larger food pantry for The DC Center’s community food distribution program, a larger Community Closet providing Center clients with free apparel, complete with a designated dressing area, an expanded state-of-the-art cyber-lounge, individual lockers that provide temporary storage for unhoused or displaced community members, and gender-neutral restrooms.

The space will also provide the opportunity for The DC Center to sublease office and desk space to other LGBTQ nonprofits, including the Wanda Alston Foundation, Rainbow Families, and G3 Associates.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for The DC Center to more fully expand our support offerings and provide vital and integral wraparound care to and for our LGBTQIA2s+ siblings,” Kimberley Bush, the executive director of The DC Center, said in a statement. “I am also exhilarated at the opportunity to be co-housed with other impactful and game changing community-based organizations and LGBTQ+ nonprofits for one-stop assistance and care.

“When community members come to this new space, they’ll see a broader range of support being offered and an enhanced experience for increasing their health, wellness, and personal security,” Bush added. “We thank Mayor Bowser and her Office of LGBTQ Affairs for their generosity, and we look forward to welcoming the community into the new space next summer. All upcoming expenses are not yet covered, so please consider a holiday donation to The DC Center, on behalf of DC’s New LGBTQ+ Community Center, as we strive to provide continued support and an affirming and safe space of respite to all who may need it.”

“We are all very excited to support this opportunity and come together in a new space with fellow nonprofits. Collectively and collaboratively, we will better serve the LGBTQ+ community and combine resources to provide a much-needed safe space to gather that provides access to food, clothes, educational programming, and care, as well as professional development assets such as computers and conference rooms,” Ryan Bos, the executive director of Capital Pride Alliance, said in a statement.

“The funding we’ve secured through our Pride 365 Fund for this venture will take us only so far,” Bos added, “so we’ll be counting on the support from donors, sponsors, and advocates to help permanently finance this much needed expansion.”

The Bowser administration hailed the development of the new community center as a benefit for the larger city. 

“We are proud to reaffirm our support for D.C.’s LGBTQ+ community,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement. “This investment is a reflection of our D.C. values. We know that when we foster community, and when we support organizations that invest in the community, D.C. is stronger and our residents have more and better opportunities to reach their full potential and live happy, healthy lives.”

“Our D.C. values are centered around uplifting, supporting, and providing safe spaces for all of our residents, including members of the LGBTQIA2+ community,” Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio added. “We are proud that we provided $1 million in financial assistance to help The DC Center build out its new home. The new DC Center will be comprised of community-serving organizations dedicated to helping community members access resources and opportunities to achieve their fair shot. We are grateful
to aid in that mission.”

“D.C. and Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration is leading the nation in providing resources and opportunity for our LGBTQIA+ community,” Japer Bowles, the director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, said in a statement. “This investment in LGBTQIA+ safe space is just one more example of how we lead.”

This is a developing story.

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