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Last month, Mayor Vince Gray committed $100 million to affordable housing but offered no real details as to how that money would be spent. This morning, with Gray presiding, the Comprehensive Housing Strategy Task Force delivered its long-anticipated report that lays out broad goals for housing in the city, but again has few specifics when it comes to dollars and cents.
So now the D.C. Fair Budget Coalition is weighing in with its take on how the money should be spent.
The alliance, whose membership comprises about 70 progressive nonprofits and community groups, sent its recommendations for the $100 million investment to the mayor’s office this afternoon. Here’s how they break down:
- An annual $5 million investment to end homelessness for the approximately 300 families in the D.C. General shelter and in hotels: 60 households through the Department of Human Services’ Housing First program and 240 households with vouchers through the Local Rent Supplement Program.
- An annual $10 million investment to end homelessness for seniors in D.C.: 224 households through Housing First and 352 through LRSP.
- An annual $3.75 million investment to end homelessness for people with HIV/AIDS. The exact number of homeless HIV/AIDS victims is unknown, but the coalition calls for serving 50 households through Housing First and 200 through vouchers.
- An additional $5 million investment in Housing First to serve 200 chronically homeless individuals.
- A $2.75 million investment in Independent Living Programs for 60 homeless youth between 16 and 24 years of age.
That comes out to just over $25 million. The remainder of the funds, the coalition says, should go to shoring up the Housing Production Trust Fund and LRSP, both of which have taken a hit in recent years.
According to the task force report, “The homeless population in the city hovers at just under 7,000 and experienced a 6.2% increase between 2011 and 2012.” The recommendations would bring 1,126 homeless families out of homelessness, plus 260 individuals—-maybe somewhere near 4,000 people total. Housing more than half of the city’s homeless population with just a quarter of the new investment isn’t a bad way to go. But it requires a continued annual investment, something Gray says he’s not yet prepared to commit to.