September 2017 DHCD Connection Newsletter

Department of Housing and Community Development Connection

Letter from the DHCD Director

polly D

Greetings Washingtonians, 

I have great news! On September 11, the District Government won a prestigious award for its efforts to produce and preserve more affordable housing for District residents. In being named the 2017 winner of the Robert C. Larson Housing Policy Leadership Award from the Urban Land Institute, ULI noted that our “wide-ranging efforts are bringing significant local resources to bear and raising the bar for other cities to meet.”

The award recognizes exemplary state and local programs that are using innovative strategies to produce, rehabilitate or preserve workforce and affordable housing. The District had stiff competition; we were selected over three other finalist cities—New York City, Boston and Denver. But what stood out for the jury of national housing leaders was how Mayor Bowser “substantially built on existing efforts and created new initiatives in an ambitious, multifaceted strategy.”

The commitment and vision of Mayor Bowser and Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner were critical to getting this type of national recognition. They gave the DHCD team a mandate: In a hot housing market, provide more affordable housing and homeownership opportunities to city residents across all eight wards. And they also gave the resources—such as the $100 million Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF)—that are making this vision a reality.

To make it happen, we developed strategies that weren’t just policy statements, but fast-track action plans, such as the recommendations from the Housing Preservation Strike Force. We made our administrative processes more efficient and effective in order to more quickly finance production and preservation projects, and dispose of vacant properties. We made the extra investments necessary to help more residents get keys to their own home.

We are humbled that the Larson Award recognizes the Bowser administration’s hard work. It speaks volumes to the dedication and strength of the Mayor and the DHCD team, and to the commitment of our Mayor to District residents.

As innovators, we will not bask in the joy of winning this award for too long. There are more strategies to implement, and programs to build, so that every person who wants to call Washington DC their home can do so.

Polly Donaldson, DHCD Director 

Follow me on Twitter @maryrandolph

Housing Spotlight

Time's Running Out to Comment on
New Inclusionary Zoning Rules

A notice of emergency and proposed rulemaking to amend the regulations governing the Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) program was published this month. Input from the public is welcome, but the deadline to provide comments is only 12 days away.

The new regulations propose a number of changes based on feedback the agency received from current program participants and an order by the DC Zoning Commission that simplified the program, to include setting aside most affordable rental units for households earning 60 percent or less of Median Family Income (MFI) and most affordable for-sale units for households earning 80 percent or less of MFI.

Other amendments included:

  • Clarifying the household registration process
  • Clarifying the lottery process
  •  Income limits on lease renewals
  •  Combining lists of those who live and work in the District

On September 15, DHCD hosted a briefing at its Housing Resource Center, where representatives summarized and answered questions for attendees on the proposed regulations.

The public comment period ends on Monday, October 2, 2017.

kansas avenue
Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, Director Donaldson, Frank Lucician of CHANGE All Souls Housing Corporation, Carl Hairston of City First Bank of DC and Michael Milliner of Building Relationships, LLC cutting the ribbon at 4000 Kansas Avenue NW.

DHCD Thanked for 'Wonderful Work' in Preserving Affordable Housing in Ward 4

You should have seen what this place used to look like, remarked one attendee of the August 30 ribbon cutting at 4000 Kansas Avenue NW. But that’s now a distant memory. Thanks to financing from the HPTF and other sources, the building has been restored and affordable housing has been preserved.

Director Donaldson joined Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, as well as development and financing partners, to cut the ribbon on a rehabilitation project that is preserving 19 units of affordable housing, ranging from studios to three bedroom units—for households making no more than $88,240 (80 percent of the Area Median Income [AMI]).  

The event opened with Frank Lucician of CHANGE All Souls Housing Corporation summarizing the project’s journey from concept to completion. Councilmember Todd led attendees in a round of applause, noting that delivering affordable housing to Ward 4 families is his big priority. During her remarks, Donaldson noted that the units were preserved thanks to $2.57 million in HPTF financing. Developer Michael Milliner of Building Relationships, LLC was so appreciative of DHCD’s support that he made sure to name every member of the DHCD team for their "wonderful work and patience" with the project. Carl Hairston of City First Bank of DC emphasized that the District is committing more to affordable housing than any other jurisdiction.

As attendees took a tour of the project, now called Thompson Place in honor of a CHANGE All Souls Housing board member, they did see in the lobby some remnants from the building's past: original wall medallions restored to their former glory. 


District Native Gets First Home Thanks to Purchase Assistance 

Reginald Izlar felt as a renter that the money he earned working for the District government the past 12 years was being thrown down a bottomless pit. Homeownership, he thought, offered him an opportunity to have something he could call his own. This summer, he became a first-time homeowner.

Izlar, a District native who grew up in the Ward 6 neighborhood of Hill East, purchased a newly renovated three bedroom, two bathroom townhome in the Bellvue neighborhood on Elmira Street SW.

Through HPAP, Izlar was able to receive more than $65,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance as a first-time home buyer. He also received an additional $10,000 as a participant in EAHP for city government employees. “It helped,” he said. “It helped a lot!”

Preserving 360 Units of Affordable Housing
in Three Wards

DHCD recently closed three loan agreements totaling more than $18.9 million in HPTF financing that will help preserve 360 affordable housing units in Wards 2, 7 and 8:

  • Mass Place Apartment, LLC, a partnership between National Housing Trust Enterprise Preservation Corporation (NHT-Enterprise) and the 1111 Massachusetts Avenue Tenants Association Inc., secured $10.7 million in HPTF financing to acquire and preserve 160 affordable housing units.
  • East River Preservation Partners LLC, a partnership between NHT-Enterprise and IBF Development, received $6.4 million in HPTF financing to acquire and preserve16 apartment buildings with 202 affordable units along the 300 block of 37th Place SE.
  • Mi Casa Inc., received $1.7 million in HPTF financing to acquire and preserve an 18-unit apartment building at 1847 Good Hope Road SE.


Donaldson Talks About Future of Funding at OTA Summit

Questions may exist about future federal funding levels for housing programs, but the District is in a unique position to deal with any uncertainty, Director Donaldson recently explained to a group of tenants and their advocates.

Donaldson gave a September 16 presentation at the "Jim Graham 10th Annual Tenant and Tenant Association Summit" hosted by the Office of the Tenant Advocate at the Kellogg Conference Hotel on the campus of Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Avenue NE. In the main plenary session entitled "The Future of Federal Funding for Affordable Housing Programs," Donaldson noted that although DHCD has received its federal allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to fund local programs for Fiscal Year 2018, uncertainty looms beyond the upcoming fiscal year. "We don't know what's going to happen in [fiscal year 2019]," she said.

Despite such uncertainty, Donaldson said that the District has an advantage that other jurisdictions cannot match. "No other municipality invests as much in affordable housing as [the District]," she emphasized.

Small Business Booster

Looking through the window into Nubian Huemen at the Anacostia Arts Center Historic Anacostia, where a crowd came to celebrate the boutique's expansion.

Highlight on the Creative Economy:
Nubian Hueman Is Expanding

In celebration of 202Creates, we are shining the spotlight on Nubian Hueman, a boutique that just celebrated its four-year anniversary and grand reopening at the Anacostia Arts Center in Ward 8.

The Anacostia Arts Center is a project of the ARCH Development Corporation (ARCH), which receives funding from DHCD for small business technical assistance (SBTA) that helps businesses like Nubian Hueman get their start, and grow.

On September 15-23, Nubian Hueman celebrated its expansion from a cozy 500 square-foot to a sprawling 980 square-foot of retail space. Voted “2016 Best Boutique” by the Washington Post Express, Nubian Hueman has provided a platform for over 200 national and international brands and artists since opening its doors in 2003.

Owner and Lead Curator Anika Hobbs says that boutique’s success is the result of multi-agency commercial revitalization initiatives that fund ARCH projects (such as the SBTA and the Great Streets program from the Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development).

Hobbs further noted that Nubian Hueman is not just about providing jobs for District residents and contributing to the District’s thriving economic development. The boutique also supports the local community by making philanthropic contributions to assist homeless women, fund summer camps for low income families and send fifth graders to South Africa through the Orr Elementary Embassy Exchange Program.

September 2017 Edition

Learn What Our CBOs Have to Offer

DHCD provides funding to highly-qualified Community-Based Non-Profit Organizations (CBOs) that support our affordable housing and community development programs. See this handy list of CBOs for resources you can use.


Over $1.55M in HPAP/ EAHP Goes to 26 Households in August

Our Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) and Employer Assisted Housing Program (EAHP) have helped thousands of residents become first-time homeowners. Recent enhancements to HPAP give residents even more purchasing power and there's beefed up EAHP funding in Mayor Bowser's Fiscal Year 2018 budget. Congratulations to the 26 households that received over $1.55 million in down payment and closing cost assistance in August.  

Get Details on DHCD Income Limits

To qualify for DHCD affordable housing programs, households need to meet income and other criteria. Income limits, as well as rent and purchase price limits, for programs like home purchase assistance and IZ are on our website and can help determine your eligibility for DHCD programs.   

View Map of IZ Projects Using New Dashboard

We’ve developed a new Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) Dashboard that enables you to view a map and/or table of IZ projects and learn their construction status. You can even dig deeper and search for projects by whether they are for-sale or rental units, and by income level, bedroom size and ward. The dashboard also has links that will take you to more information about the IZ program, such as 2017 income and price schedules and how to register for an orientation course.

Our Video Story 

Have you checked out our new video? It tells a great visual story of how we are helping District residents by producing and preserving affordable housing, and revitalizing neighborhoods, in the District.