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On Friday morning, Mayor Muriel Bowser gave an update not on the District’s snow-removal efforts but rather on her adminstration’s endeavor to expand D.C.’s stock of affordable housing.
“Housing affordability is one, if not the top, issue facing the District of Columbia,” Bowser said while announcing an investment of more than $80 million toward 12 development projects across the city. The projects will preserve or create 804 affordable units and are expected to benefit around 1,800 residents; 83 of these units will be designated as “permanent supportive housing” for the chronically homeless (like La Casa in Columbia Heights).
Of the 804 units, 58 percent will be preserved and 42 percent will be new, according to the District. The 12 projects are located in Wards 1 and 4 through 8—with the majority in wards 7 and 8. D.C. received 29 applications for the funds, which were reviewed by six agencies, including the Department of Housing and Community Development. It remains to be seen when the projects will come online as they are not under construction yet, DHCD told reporters.
Just above one-fourth of the units will go toward residents making up to 30 percent of area median income, which was roughly $110,000 last year; half will go toward those making between 31 and 50 percent of AMI; and less than a quarter will go toward those making between 51 and 80 percent of AMI. Of the 12 selected projects, seven will be preservation-based, while five will be based on new production.
The funds come from several sources, including the mayor’s 2015 budget. The budget put $100 million toward the Housing Production Trust Fund, which is D.C.’s main funding source for affordable housing.
Bowser mentioned a “strike force” she commissioned last year to study ways of maintaining units in buildings that get federal subsidies, many of which are set to expire in the next few years. She said the group would deliver to her an initial report of their findings today and a final report on Apr. 1, as her office prepares its next budget.
The District will hold another round of applications for affordable-housing funding in March, a biennial procedure.
Photo by Andrew Giambrone