Four Years, $13 Million and Dozens of Hands: How ‘Affordable Housing’ Gets Made in America


The apartment building at 410 Cedar St. in Washington, D.C., is undergoing a multiyear restoration that aims to keep it affordable for its current residents and for generations to come.

Jennifer Sumler has lived in her apartment building on Cedar Street in the Takoma section of Washington, D.C., for her entire life, but the sound she heard one late November evening a few years ago was like nothing she’d ever experienced.

“All of a sudden the sky got dark and there was a ‘Wizard of Oz’ moment,” recalled Sumler, who’s 50. “Leaves started to whip up. There was this ferocious wind. Then there was this noise. It was loud and really otherworldly.”