Even in Tough Times, The Greater Washington Urban League

As of Sep. 1, the Greater Washington Urban League (GWUL) opened its new faculty in the Columbia Heights area on 2901 14th St. N.W.

“We are so excited that we have completed our new home in the Columbia Heights community, just a few blocks from our old headquarters. This facility will be a resource center for not only the Columbia Heights community, but the city as well,” said Maudine R. Cooper, GWUL president and chief executive officer.

Founded in 1938 with a goal of bettering the community, even through times of difficulty, the organization helps with civil rights and social services. It is one of 115 national Urban League Centers nationwide and the only one in the District of Columbia. With divisions focusing on housing and community development, education, and even aging services, the GWUL is trying to help every aspect of not only the African American community, but all other minority communities as well.

On Dec. 12, the new place will be having an open house from noon until 6 p.m. where the public can tour the facility in honor of its 70 years of community service.

“This is so the community can come and learn what the Urban League is all about,” said Janice Smith, chief of staff and communications director.

One of the Urban League’s major services is giving loans to people around the DC area. The Urban League held a contract with the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) allowing them to give out 125 loans to residents this year between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31. However, after the Nov. 10 emergency meeting held by the Council of the District of Columbia , the city’s budget was reduced by $11 million, causing the number of loans to be drastically reduced.

As of Nov. 14, the GWUL was directed to suspend the program to any persons who were not approved by the 14th.

On the other hand, the work of the Urban League is bigger – and wider – than just D.C. Unique James, a Houston, Texas native who worked with the Urban League in Houston, said her reason for supporting the Urban League is because “they want to advance black people as a whole.”

“We need something like that in our community so we can continue to move forward,” said James.