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Some 2,600 residents will soon be able to rent from more than 1,200 apartment units considered “affordable” because of recent housing investments, Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s administration said today.
At a groundbreaking ceremony for the future mixed-use Beacon Center development, at 6300 Georgia Ave. NW, Bowser highlighted 19 affordable-housing projects her team has shepherded since she took office last year. They amount to just over $106 million designated from D.C.’s Housing Production Trust Fund, a major tool for bankrolling such housing. So far, Bowser has put $100 million annually in the fund.
In a statement, the mayor called her budgetary commitments for affordable housing unprecedented. “Because of our efforts, real money is getting out the door,” she said in remarks echoed by her Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner and Department of Housing and Community Development Director Polly Donaldson, who described the investments as “historic.”
As the District continues to gentrify, rendering its housing stock out of reach for many low- and middle-income families, HPTF-backed projects have represented one bulwark against displacement. Still, many of them will not be finished for months to come, and the mayor has previously acknowledged that while her investments in the fund have exceeded those of her predecessors, they’re “only a drop in the bucket” relative to the need for truly affordable housing. Advocates have pushed for more funding.
The Beacon Center project, for one, will create 99 units of affordable housing, from studios to three-bedrooms. Eight are to be considered “permanent supportive housing” for those earning less than 30 percent of the area median income, and 81 will be for those earning under 60 percent of AMI. (In 2016, the AMI is $108,600 for a family of four, according to DHCD.) The project is anchored by the historic Emory United Methodist Church and will contain office space plus 2,500 square feet of retail. It will cost an estimated $42.5 million overall, $17.2 million of which, or 40 percent, comes from the HPTF.
Bowser’s administration’s math for the $106 million of HPTF money accounts for both new construction and preservation of currently affordable units. Roughly $71 million is going toward creating more than 800 units; $26 million toward refurbishing apartments and supporting residents’ rights to buy their buildings through the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, totaling 315 units; and $9 million toward acquiring and refinancing over 100 units. A little under $1 million is going toward public-housing repairs.
The 19 projects represent HPTF investments for fiscal year 2016, which ended Sept. 30. About a third are in Ward 4. DMPED tracks affordable housing developments that are completed or underway here.