Restoring Historic Houses through Reuse

Community Forklift is proud to have partnered with local historic preservation nonprofit The L’Enfant Trust in their work restoring and reusing historic buildings. Both Community Forklift and the Trust are committed to neighborhood stewardship and lifting up communities through reuse. Community Forklift keeps reusable materials out of the landfill and gives them a second purpose, while The L’Enfant Trust keeps historic buildings from demolition and gives them new life.

The L’Enfant Trust recently completed the restoration of three historic properties in Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia neighborhood. These homes were once dilapidated and had sat vacant for decades. Through Community Forklift’s Community Building Blocks Program (CBB), The L’Enfant Trust received free surplus shower tiles that were installed in the full bathrooms of these three newly-renovated homes.

“We believe in the important role that restoration and rehabilitation of buildings plays in retaining the embodied carbon that already exists in our built environment — essentially in reusing and recycling buildings and their parts. The alignment of that priority and the mission and work of Community Forklift makes sourcing whatever we can from you a natural choice, and we’re so grateful for your continued support through the CBB program.”

Ananda Bagiackas, Operations Manager at The L’Enfant Trust

The L’Enfant Trust acquired the three properties from the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in March of 2018. According to the Trust, there were no bathrooms in the homes and two of the buildings had the back half removed by DHCD for stabilization purposes. The other one was a shell — bare to the studs.

The three houses were part of The L’Enfant Trust’s Historic Properties Redevelopment Program (HPRP) which restores severely distressed and vacant historic houses using philanthropic loans, grants, and donations. When completed, homes in the program are sold to moderate-income families such as teachers, healthcare workers, firefighters, and D.C. government employees. Through this program, the Trust takes on rehabilitation project costs that are not economically feasible for individuals who may not be able to afford market-rate homes.

“The Trust sold the properties at a loss … I would have never been able to afford my home if it was listed for the amount of money that was invested in its restoration.”

DC firefighter who benefited from The L’Enfant Trust’s HPR Program

We appreciate The L’Enfant Trust’s work in protecting and revitalizing D.C.’s historic neighborhoods through conservation easements, historic preservation, and — of course — reuse! Founded in 1978, The L’Enfant Trust is nationally recognized for its Conservation Easement Program which prevents demolition or inappropriate modification of nearly 1,150 historic structures in Washington, D.C. To find out more about its work, visit www.lenfant.org.

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Every time you donate or shop at Community Forklift, you’re helping us lift up local communities through reuse. We turn the construction waste stream into a resource stream for communities in the DC region – by keeping perfectly good items out of the landfill, preserving historical materials, providing low-cost building supplies, and creating local green jobs.