Growing up in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC, Kenrry Alvarado saw firsthand how gentrification can uproot families from their communities. Seventeen years after moving because his family could no longer afford to rent – much less own – in the neighborhood, Kenrry recently purchased a condo on the same block where he grew up and near the high school where he graduated and has taught biology for the last five years.
“My parents were not able to afford property, nor given the opportunity, so building equity in the neighborhood I call home is a huge deal for me,” Kenrry said. “Paying rent in DC is the same, if not more, than paying a mortgage. Landed made it possible for me to own a home. Something that seemed impossible, like putting up a large down payment, was suddenly something that can be achieved.”
With Kenrry’s lease coming up soon, he wanted to get into the housing market quickly to start building equity. When looking into specific homebuying assistance programs for teachers in DC, he found Landed to be an expedited process. “I have always felt uneasy paying rent as it was not building towards anything in the future, so I did not want to be stuck in that rent cycle.” Kenrry said.
A graduate of Middlebury College with a science focus, Kenrry has found his passion teaching high school biology at Columbia Heights Education Campus with an interactive, hands-on approach to kids who face similar economic hurdles as he did as a student.
“It’s fulfilling as I see myself in a lot of the students I teach, and I often reflect on what types of support would have helped me and I try to instill that in the kids,” Kenrry said. “Living conditions have not improved for many of my students and displacement and housing insecurity is common with the rise of gentrification; there is still a lot of work to be done to address inequities in my neighborhood.”
Landed expanded to the DC area and launched its partnership with DC Public Schools in November 2019 and Kenrry is one of the first dozen customers to close on a home in the city.
“I found Landed to be accommodating for first time home buyers who don’t have experience with the process, which can be intimidating, and appreciated the trusted team they provided as my support system,” Kenrry said. “I don’t have a car so commuting to teach in Columbia Heights would have been a big hurdle. I probably wouldn’t be teaching at my school if I hadn’t been able to buy a home in the neighborhood.”