D.C. Mayor Makes Pitch for More Funding: $400 Million for 2,700 ‘Affordable’ Homes by 2023

Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser attends a news conference after touring the constructio
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser invited the press, developers, and housing advocates to attend her affordable housing announcement on Monday with the Springs Flat development in Ward 4 as a backdrop.

Bowser said a supplemental budget for the current fiscal year will add $150 million to the Housing Production Trust Fund, the city’s primary source for affordable housing financing. Bowser also wants $250 million more in the fund in 2022.

The funding must be approved by the D.C. Council.

“You know affordable housing is my baby,” Bowser said at the event.

Spring Flats is a concept in keeping with the left-wing philosophy that forced income and racial “diversity” creates better neighborhoods, a September 2020 report announcing the development confirmed:

Within two weeks of its last deal closing, the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) has financed a second development. On September 15, DCHFA issued $19.1 million in tax-exempt bond financing and underwrote $8 million in four percent low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) for the construction of Spring Flats Family in Petworth (Ward 4). 

Spring Flats Family will consist of 87 apartments with a mix of one, two and three-bedroom units with rents reserved at 30, 50 and 120 percent of area median income. The construction of Spring Flats Family is the second phase of the redevelopment of the site at 1125 Spring Road NW, which includes the former Hebrew Home and Paul Robeson school site. In April 2020, DCHFA issued $7.1 million in tax exempt bonds and underwrote $3.7 million in four percent low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) for Spring Flats Senior, the first phase of the redevelopment by Victory Housing, Inc., Brinshore Development, LLC and Banc of America Community Development Corporation.

Additional financing for Spring Flats Family is provided through a $10.4 million loan from the DC Department of Housing and Community Development’s Housing Production Trust Fund.  Amenities at Spring Flats will include community and fitness rooms, onsite property management office, 57-car parking garage and private outdoor spaces. The building will be certified LEED Gold and Energy Star appliances will be installed in each unit.

“Petworth is now an amenity-rich and highly sought after neighborhood where housing prices have increased rapidly,” Christopher E. Donald, Interim Executive Director, DCHFA, said at the time. “Investing in Spring Flats Family helps to ensure that residents at a range of income levels, including families, will have the opportunity to live in and enjoy all this neighborhood has to offer,”

By law, the District must dedicate half of any annual budget surplus to the Housing Production Trust Fund when reserves are replenished.

The DCist reported on the supplemental spending, made possible by a budget surplus even after the District predicted dire financial repercussions from the coronavirus  pandemic:

Affordable housing advocates welcomed the news that Bowser is also seeking to boost the city’s Local Rent Supplement Program (LRSP) for households earning at or below 30% of the region’s median family income, equal to about $39,000 annually for a family of four. LRSP vouchers can be used to provide rent subsidies to low-income tenants in developments financed by the Housing Production Trust Fund.

According to the mayor’s office, part of the $400 million investment will help construct 462 net new affordable housing units and preserve another 175 affordable homes across eight different projects. Half of those projects are located in Ward 8. Rental units financed by the Housing Production Trust Fund must be maintained as affordable for 40 years.

In 2019, the mayor announced an ambitious goal to build 36,000 homes by 2025, with a third of them affordable to low- and moderate-income residents. The administration had reached about 20 percent of its affordable housing goal as of April, according to city data.

On top of that funding, the District is rolling out the Stay D.C. rental assistance program, which began distributing $352 million of taxpayer federal funds to tenants as part of Congress’ coronavirus relief spending.

The DCist reported  Democrat D.C. Council member Robert White said he is introducing legislation — the Generating Affordability in Neighborhood Act — that would allow the city to place temporary affordability requirements on privately owned properties in exchange for subsidies.

“Residents who earn less than 30 percent or 50 percent of the Washington area’s median family income would qualify for housing under a covenant,” the DCist reported.

Follow Penny Starr on Twitter or send news tips to pstarr@breitbart.com


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