Housing Affordability

"Affordable and sustainable housing is a fundamental right and helps to provide a foundation for communities to thrive."

Increasing Funding to Support the Production and Preservation of Low to Moderate Income Rental Options

  • Create an area median income that is specific to the District that will provide a more accurate picture of District resident income levels, and work toward the creation of specific rent levels to match DC families’ affordability needs
  • For housing developers seeking government assistance for the construction of rental properties, mandate that a minimum of 30 percent of the total units be family size units.  
  • Support neighborhood stabilization by applying rent control measures to buildings constructed after 1975, to increase the amount of housing stock subject to these protections – inclusive of smaller buildings and close other gaps and loopholes to protect resident rights. Additionally, implement a means test for rent control units to target the program to those residents in most need of affordable units.
  • Expand preferences for development projects that reserve affordable housing units for returning citizens and provide connections to programming services and supports.
  • Explore ways to leverage our existing housing stock to create more affordable housing; we can create tax abatements and cash incentives, in exchange for affordability covenants in units like basement apartments or other accessory dwelling units. These opportunities would be for homeowners and small apartment owners. 
  • Increase the percentage of inclusionary zoning requirements for housing development projects. As an interim measure, focus on inclusionary zoning plus incentives to encourage development projects to increase the amount of inclusionary zoning units on projects currently in the cue.
  • Explore options for the District to repurpose/convert vacant office and commercial buildings for mixed use and multifamily housing units. This should be coupled with opportunities for tax incentives, the opportunity for public private partnerships, and other programs such as cash incentives for affordability covenants and HANTA.

Strengthening Safety Net Programs to Eliminate Housing Insecurity and Displacement 

  • Increase oversight of District housing agencies and require annual auditing of the agencies.
  • Require yearly, public-facing reporting from District housing agencies.
  • Conduct an annual assessment of funding levels to ensure appropriate distribution of funding and interagency collaboration to meet the needs of residents
  • Expand housing opportunities for groups experiencing barriers to housing – Direct the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to add LGBTQ to the inclusive and equitable housing categories to incentivize developers to build projects with units specifically designed to serve LGBTQ and LGBTQ senior residents.
  • Increase funding to prioritize the creation of senior tenant-based, local rent supplement housing vouchers.
  • Expand the partnering agencies and non-governmental organizations that are a part of the interagency Council on Homelessness to ensure it is representative of the multifaceted needs of residents dealing with issues of housing insecurity.
  • Create annual benchmarks to assess the annual milestones of the Homeward DC plan 
  • Increase funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to meet the actual need – prioritizing our most vulnerable residents; explore ways to expand eviction diversion supports to support a wide range of residents. Following the community-based partnership model established through the STAY DC funding, partner with trusted community organizations to share information regarding the program, support residents in the application process, provide housing counseling support, and serve as case managers throughout the process; and provide robust updates and feedback to improve the process. 
  • Increase programmatic funding for resource supports for residents who are exiting housing insecurity and homelessness. Work to create stronger linkages between housing programs (i.e. permanent supportive housing and Rapid Rehousing) and programs that support the holistic needs of residents – such as educational needs, workforce needs, and other social service supports and resources. Create a streamlined, cross-agency case management process to help residents navigate the city’s housing support systems.

The Creation of Distinct Funding for Workforce Housing 

  • Using the Housing Production Trust Fund as a model, create dedicated funding focused on the development of workforce housing.  This fund would explore ways to subsidize affordable housing options for low to moderate income workers with the goal of creating an opportunity for workers to live and work in the District.

Pathways to Affordable Homeownership

  • Create dedicated funding focused on expanding opportunities to leverage city-owned and vacant/blighted properties for affordable housing and community facilities.
  • Increase the amount of funding for community-based organizations to prepare residents to become first-time homeowners. In addition to federal funding for the program, use local funds to double the capacity of community-based organizations that conduct the initial HPAP process – to increase the number of counselors, number of available classes for residents, and to increase a one-on-one case management model for successful pathways to homeownership. 
  • Increase the percentage of inclusionary zoning requirements for housing development projects. As an interim measure, focus on inclusionary zoning plus incentives to encourage development projects to increase the amount of inclusionary zoning units on projects currently in the cue.
  • Create dedicated funding for community land trust models to be able to purchase land to develop affordable housing for low-income homeownership opportunities.
  • Prioritize efforts to increase funding for opportunities for deeply affordable homeownership through limited equity co-ops and social housing for residents making less than 30% of the area median income.
  • Expand support for residents seeking to move beyond their starter home and maintain residence in the District that allows them to grow. Direct the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to implement the Step Up program – to provide down payment assistance and closing costs to residents who are seeking to purchase their next home in the District.
  • Prioritize efforts to take a holistic look at black homeownership in the District and develop tools and dedicate funding and support to increase and preserve black homeownership.
  • Increase funding for the Single Family Residential Rehabilitation Program and expand eligibility categories to increase resident access to the program. This program can be used to support older residents in modernizing their homes to age in place but it can also be a tool to support residents to have access to funds to modernize their homes and decrease displacement due to aging housing infrastructure.  
  • Explore pathways to increase the income threshold for senior and long-term homeowner caps to limit annual property tax increases; and work toward opportunities to stabilize and support senior residents’ ability to age in place.
  • Allow residents to keep their monthly payments low through city funding support to provide equitable pathways for wealth building through homeownership – this creates opportunities to close disparities between white residents and residents of color, particularly black residents – this is a tool to close that gap.
  • Ensure that the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) remains a strong tool for preserving existing affordable rental units, as they change ownership. Work to position TOPA to create more home ownership opportunities through limited equity co-ops or affordable condominiums, when tenants exercise their right and are seeking to convert to an ownership opportunity.

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Faith for Ward 5 2022

Brian McNamee, Treasurer
© Friends of Faith for Ward 5 2022
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