History

Marshall Heights Community Development Organization was founded  in 1979 to address neighborhood housing and a deteriorating infrastructure, has operated comprehensive programs for three decades. For 37 years MHCDO continues to open doors of opportunity to individuals in the community and work daily to transform lives and neighborhoods in Ward 7. 


MHCDO a nonprofit community-based organization has successfully developed on its own or in partnership with others a 60-unit supportive housing facility, a 469-unit apartment complex, 220,000 square feet of retail/office space, 20,000 square feet of warehouse and industrial space, and over 150 homes sold to low and moderate income buyers. It has provided service to thousands of individuals in Ward 7 and the Washington Metropolitan area to include: housing and financial counseling, supportive housing, home buying education and assistance, job search training and placement, adult education, business development services, emergency food and nutrition services, and family and youth programs.


MHCDO serves residents of Maryland and Virginia, but its primary target population is the District of Columbia’s Ward 7, which is comprised of 29 neighborhoods spanning approximately 3,512+ acres. Ward 7 is located east of the Anacostia River on the most eastern side of Washington D.C. and is served by four Metro Stations and major bus lines. It is home to a number of Civil War fort sites that have since been turned into parkland, including Fort Mahan Park, Fort Davis Park, Fort Chaplin Park and Fort Dupont Park. The 367 acre Fort Dupont Park is the largest city-owned park in the District of Columbia. The ward is also home to several parks, including the Kingman Island, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Watts Branch/Marvin Gaye Park, River Terrace Park, and Anacostia River Park. In addition, the following facilities are located in Ward 7: Washington National Youth Baseball Academy and Fort Dupont Ice Arena.  


Among the community’s assets are Kenilworth Gardens, operated since 1935 by the U.S. National Park Service and home to over 40 species of water flowers and plants; Woodlawn Cemetery, one of the oldest burial grounds for African Americans; and the Nannie Helen Burroughs School, founded in 1909 as the only private school for African-American girls and women on the East Coast.


Ward 7 is typified by leafy streets, single-family homes, and above all, parks. The neighborhoods of Ward 7 are proud, distinct and numerous. Deanwood, situated on the north end of the ward, is one of the oldest communities in the northeast quadrant, and has a pleasant small-town character with its many wood-frame and brick houses. To the south of Deanwood are neighborhoods such as Capitol View, Benning Heights and Marshall Heights, characterized by a variety of single-family homes, garden apartments and apartment buildings. Further south, neighborhoods including Hillcrest, Dupont Park, Penn Branch and Randle Highlands have a very suburban character, dominated by single-family homes with large yards and lawns. Ward 7 also has an extensive waterfront along the Anacostia River and riverfront neighborhoods have their own unique identities.