What BFC Expansion Means for DC
Bread for the City breaks ground tomorrow on a new 30,000 square foot Southeast Center that will replace our current facility in Ward 8.
The new building on 1710 Good Hope Road SE will replace our existing, at-capacity center on the same street. For the first time in Southeast, Bread for the City will offer the full menu of services and programs for which we are known.
I couldn’t be more excited to bring so many more resources to Ward 8. However, the groundbreaking – and what this groundbreaking means for the District – is somewhat bittersweet.
In my 22 years leading Bread for the City, DC has changed. The population has ballooned, businesses are thriving, and economic development can be seen from every corner of the city.
But not everyone is benefiting from these changes. In many ways, the need for our new Southeast Center highlights the disparate outcomes in the District, where a few have plenty and many struggle to get a little.
On paper, DC’s economy is experiencing tremendous growth. But meanwhile, our existing Southeast Center is currently at-capacity. The overcrowding has forced us to limit our hours and growth, including essential food and social services programs. To me, and to my staff at Bread for the City, this is unacceptable, and the new Southeast Center will be a beacon of Good Hope for the entire community.
The new Bread for the City Southeast Center will bring much-needed primary medical, dental, vision, and behavioral health care to the community. The new clinics, and wellness spaces — including a fitness center and locker rooms, private counseling rooms, classrooms, and kid-friendly spaces — will provide clients with the resources to make a sustained investment in their physical and mental health.
We’ll be able to treat 2,000 patients, provide behavioral health care to 1,000 patients, dental care to 1,000 patients, and vision care to 500 patients — all in our very first Southeast DC medical clinic. This is not only good for our clients, it’s good for the District: according to the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, the District could save $34M in emergency room visit costs if all residents had regular access to primary care like the services our new building will provide.
In addition to our health and wellness areas, the building will feature a new jobs center with a smart classroom, computer lab, counseling rooms, and training spaces. We will double the number of participants in our Pre-Employment Program (PEP), which provides job seekers with training, mentorship, case management, paid internship opportunities, and long-term support to address unemployment in Wards 7 and 8.
I am grateful to our board, staff, volunteers, and community partners who helped bring the phrase “Building on Good Hope” off the page it was written on and into the lives of our clients.
For more than 40 years, we have been at the front in DC’s fight against poverty and systemic racism. The new building on Good Hope Road SE allows us to continue the fight for a more just and equitable District.