An unexpected opportunity led to the formation of a lasting bond, evolving into a family-like connection. Now, the time has come for four women to conclude the chapter that began decades ago.
Reported by The Washington Post, the story unfolds in 1986 when the owners decided to sell a Washington D.C. apartment building. Seizing the chance, four women acquired the property for $75,000, a purchase that seemed improbable given their individual annual incomes of less than $15,000. Janice Washington, one of the four, expressed their collective surprise, stating, “Never did we, as a group, imagine owning this building.” The acquisition was made possible with the assistance of a local nonprofit and the D.C. government.
Today, Washington, along with Earlie Hendricks, Joanne Jenkins, and Bettie Perry, collectively owns the six-unit complex located in the Northwest Washington neighborhood. Though Maud Patterson and Howard University student Timothy Harmon contributed to the purchase initially, they no longer reside in the building.
Despite the challenges posed by rising housing costs that displaced many from the area, the remaining women have weathered the test of time. They’ve supported each other through various life events, including deaths and illnesses in their families. Witnessing the birth of their children and subsequently, their grandchildren, their camaraderie has remained unwavering.
After nearly four decades of observing changes in both the neighborhood and the building, the women have made the decision to sell. Noelle-Kristine Spencer of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty notes that comparable properties in the area have sold for over $1 million, with some reaching close to $2 million.
Amidst reminiscing about their journey, Spencer acknowledged the remarkable success story, stating, “The fact that you’re still together, through thick and thin, and through all the housing crises.”
As the women age, they share their reasons for parting ways with the property. Joanne Jenkins expressed her readiness to move on, citing the challenges of parking and the opportunity to reap the rewards of their long-term investment. All four women, who juggled full-time jobs while managing the building, attended countless government meetings to stay involved.
Once the sale is finalized, Hendricks, Perry, and Washington plan to relocate to a senior housing complex in D.C., while Jenkins hopes to find a one-story house in Maryland. Despite the imminent conclusion of this chapter, Janice Washington reflects, “I know it’s going to be a happy ending for us all. The thing is, I’m not ready for the ending.”