October 2017 DHCD Connection Newsletter

Department of Housing and Community Development Connection

Letter from the DHCD Director

polly D

Greetings Washingtonians, 

The first week of October was designated Housing Week by Mayor Bowser, and in those few days, we announced initiatives that will have an enduring impact for District residents.

First, the Mayor shared another record investment in the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF): $138.5 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. Next, she announced eight awardees from our Spring 2017 request for proposals. It’s important to note that our FY 2016 awardees were mostly preservation projects. However, the District’s population continues to grow, so we need to increase housing stock in a balanced way by producing new rental and homeownership projects. Therefore, the eight FY 2017 awardees are primarily new construction projects.

It’s great to fund projects, but many residents still need financial help when purchasing a home. In particular, the Mayor wants to give District government workers and first responders a better chance to work, and live, in the city. As a result, she announced a new initiative under which first responders potentially could receive $125,000 in down payment and closing cost help (combined with the Home Purchase Assistance Program [HPAP]).

We make these unparalleled investments and initiatives thanks to the leadership and vision of the Mayor, and the hard work of our DHCD foot soldiers, including the Development Finance Division, the Residential and Community Services Division and the legal team. We are cutting down the time it takes for a great idea to become reality, and are working smarter and more efficiently to get more resources out of the door.

We will not slow down, because our goal is for even more individuals to have a place in the District to call home.

Polly Donaldson, DHCD Director 

P.S. Stay tuned for an announcement in November, when we will open up our next RFP for affordable housing projects.

Follow me on Twitter @maryrandolph

Housing Week Highlights

group pic
DHCD staff bask in the accomplishments announced during Housing Week.

Events Emphasized District Work in Providing Housing Resources for Residents

Housing Week 2017, an event celebrating new affordable housing benchmarks and initiatives, was held October 2-6. Mayor Bowser said the week-long celebration was an opportunity for her administration to “highlight the work we are doing across all eight wards to create and preserve affordable housing and put home ownership in reach for more Washingtonians.” Some key highlights include:

  • In FY 2017, more than $138 million in investments from the HPTF supported 23 projects that will produce or preserve more than 1,900 affordable housing units throughout the city. “Obviously, these kinds of efforts don’t come without a tremendous team,” said Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner, who acknowledged the District’s housing leaders at the RL Christian groundbreaking, a 33-unit affordable housing project on 1300 H Street NE.
Firefighter Jonathan Tate shared how District program helped he and his wife Precious buy their first home.
  • The amount of home purchase assistance available for all District government employees under the Employer-Assisted Housing Program (EAHP) increased from $10,000 to $20,000 and first responders can receive up to $45,000 in down payment assistance. “It’s critically important for our polices officers – if they can – to live here in the city and become invested in the communities they police,” said DC Police Peter Newsham.
  • Eight projects from the Spring 2017 Request For Proposals (RFP) were selected to receive financing and will proceed to the underwriting stage to produce or preserve 500 affordable units. The projects encompass 28 homeownership units in Ward 7, 65 preservation units in Ward 4 and more than 400 new construction units in Wards 5, 6, and 8.
  • DHCD participated in the launch of “Housing Insights,” an open data tool created by District residents and software developers to help affordable housing decision makers prioritize their resources and become more proactive. The tool allows users to browse subsidized affordable housing in the District and other critical data (that is, zoning and public transit) to develop strategies to preserve affordable units. DHCD was a partner in this project.

Since January 2015, the Bowser Administration has used every tool in its toolbox to spark the creation or preservation of more than 8,400 affordable units, with another 3,700 units in preconstruction. 

Housing Spotlight

Angel Thompson gets the keys to her new home from DHCD's Michael Woodson.

Three's the Charm as DHCD Programs Create Homeownership

Angel Thompson was determined to use every resource available to purchase her first home. Still, she needed a little luck to beat the odds.

Thompson successfully completed two DHCD programs to help prepare her for homeownership: HPAP and the Inclusionary Zoning Program (IZ).

In June, DHCD held a lottery to purchase a two-story townhome rehabilitated through its Property Acquisition and Disposition Division (PADD) in the Shaw neighborhood. The lottery entrants were comprised of participants from both the HPAP and IZ programs.

Thompson had her name pulled from all the entrants. By participating in the three DHCD housing programs, she was able to live in the District and purchase an affordable home in a well-established community.

She praised the DHCD staff that helped make it happen. “Thank you for all your hard work,” she said. 

Two DHCD-funded Projects Recognized for Innovations

Two affordable housing projects funded by DHCD recently received awards for their investment and/or design innovations.

  • The Beacon Center is being honored by the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits as one of its Community Development QLICIs of the Year, during the journal's October 18-19 conference. Community development entities (CDEs) are recognized that made exceptional qualified low-income community investments (QLICIs) in the past year whose predominant business activity is the development, management or leasing of real estate. In September 2016, DHCD provided more than $20 million in financing toward this mixed-use development, which will feature 99 affordable units, a community space and office space.
  • The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Commons received an award in the Affordable Housing category and also received an honorable mention in the Multifamily category at the 12th Annual North American Passive House Conference, sponsored by the Passive Housing Institute US (PHIUS). Weinberg Commons is the first multi-family retrofit project in the United States to achieve Passive House certification, which is widely considered the most rigorous energy performance standard in the world. The 36-unit project was allocated $780,000 in 9 percent low income housing tax credits by DHCD.

HPTF Financing Preserves Affordable Housing Units in Ward 7

In late September, DHCD closed a $12.9 million loan agreement that will help preserve 106 affordable housing units in the Burrville neighborhood of Ward 7. The HPTF financing was provided to Eastern Avenue Redevelopment Partnership, a partnership between Eastern Avenue GP LLC and Winn Development Company LP, for the acquisition and rehabilitation of Hilltop Apartments, a 106-unit apartment complex along the 900 block of Eastern Avenue NE. Seventy-two units will be available for households at or below $66,180 (60 percent of the Area Median Income [AMI]) and remain affordable for no less than 40 years; the remaining units will be available for households at or below $88,240 (80 percent of AMI).

October 2017 Edition

Michael Spencer

Michael Spencer Is New Chairman of Rental Housing Commission

On October 3, Mayor Bowser appointed Michael Spencer as the chairman of the DC Rental Housing Commission (RHC), which enforces the District’s rental housing laws. Spencer was appointed to the RHC in July 2016. In announcing his appointment, the Mayor noted that, Spencer’s “expertise and leadership skills will ensure the Rental Housing Commission continues to protect the integrity of our city’s rental market while serving as a reliable resource for tenants.”

How Would You Rate Our Efforts in FY 2017?

DHCD is soliciting public comments on the District’s effectiveness during FY 2017 at using federal funds to meet the city’s housing and community development needs. This is in preparation for submitting the FY 2017 Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Residents can provide input at the following public hearings (each begins at 6:30 pm):

  • Wednesday, November 15 at the Latino Economic Development Center, 641 S Street NW.
  • Thursday, November 16 at Marshall Heights Community Development Organization, 3939 Benning Road NE.

Please register in advance at dhcd.events@dc.gov or (202) 442-7251 by providing your name, address, telephone number, and organization affiliation, if any.

lead safe

In Late October, Learn About Lead Dangers to Health

October 22-28 is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, designed to educate parents and children about the dangerous health effects of lead exposure such as learning disabilities, decreased growth, behavior problems, impaired hearing, and brain damage.

DHCD’s Lead Safe Washington Program will be doing its part to educate District residents, by handing out literature at the Columbia Heights Metro Station – one of the city’s busiest – and participating in the 3rd Annual State of Ward 4 event at the Riggs LaSalle Recreation Center on October 26.


Over $2.09M in HPAP/ EAHP Goes to 39 Households in September

In September, 39 households in the District received more than $2.09 million in down payment and closing cost assistance to become first-time homeowners. Congratulations to our newest HPAP and Employer Assisted Housing Program (EAHP) recipients! 

Quick Links

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Our Video Story 

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