December 2017 DHCD Connection Newsletter

Department of Housing and Community Development Connection

Letter from the DHCD Director

polly D

Greetings Washingtonians, 

The District is a growing, thriving city, and our top priority is to produce and preserve affordable housing so that more individuals and families who want to live in our great city can afford to do so. We know that the faster we transform District-owned vacant and blighted properties, the sooner more affordable housing becomes available for District residents.

That’s why I was pleased to join Mayor Bowser on December 15 to announce Vacant to Vibrant DC, a five-step action plan that will count our vacant property inventory down to zero.

When Mayor Bowser came into office, DHCD inherited over 90 vacant sites—and she heard loud and clear from residents that we needed to find creative and productive solutions for them all. Currently, over half are in some form of disposition; from where we started, that’s great progress. Last March, I committed to having the balance of our inventory in some form of disposition by year’s end. Vacant to Vibrant DC outlines how our remaining inventory will be transformed into nearly 70 units of workforce housing—representing over 150 residents—help to maintain green space, teach us how tiny homes can fit into the DC landscape and spur more $5 million in economic development for small businesses. You can read more details on the initiative below.

It took a team to make this happen…from partners like the Deputy Mayor's Office for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), DC Housing Finance Agency (DHCFA), Casey Trees, Alex Cooper Auctioneers and the DC Students Construction Trades Foundation… to #teamDHCD, particularly our Property Acquisition and Disposition Division, (PADD), Development Finance Division (DFD) and legal counsel. Because of their efforts, the Bowser administration is setting the bar higher by using more of its assets to build pathways to homeownership for residents.

We look forward to sharing more news about Vacant to Vibrant DC as it counts down to zero.

Happy Holidays!

Polly Donaldson, DHCD Director 

Follow me on Twitter @maryrandolph

  • Action 1—Auctioning Off to Gain Affordability: An online auction by Alex Cooper Auctioneers of over 35 sites that will be redeveloped into workforce housing.
  • Action 2—Supporting Small Business to Spur Homeownership for District Employees: Certified business enterprises will bid on contracts to turn up to eight sites into a home for District government employees, and help our best and brightest employees to both work and live in the city.
  • Action 3—Building Homes Through HIP: DCHFA's innovative Housing Investment Platform (HIP) will turn two sites into workforce housing. HIP's request for qualifications was issued recently.
  • Action 4—Expanding Green Space: The city is growing with development, but we will preserve green space and keep our city environmentally green, thanks to this partnership with Casey Trees.
  • Action 5—Seeing a Tiny House in Action: Learn how this housing trend can fit into the DC housing landscape, through a demonstration and community education project in partnership with the DC Students Construction Trades Foundation, featuring the Minim House built by students in the Academy of Construction and Design at IDEA Public Charter School in Northeast DC.)

V2V event
At Vacant to Vibrant DC launch: Sondra Phillips-Gilbert, ANC6A07 Commissioner; Polly Donaldson of DHCD; Todd Lee of DHCFA; Mayor Bowser; and DMPED Deputy Mayor Brian Kenner give residents a taste of things to come.


Over the coming weeks you will learn more about this initiative, to include: (1) the online auction scheduled to occur in mid-January; (2) informational meetings for residents and community leaders in the most impacted areas of the city in early January; and (3) early 2018 community engagement about the green space step managed by Casey Trees and well as the Tiny Home demonstration project.


Housing Spotlight

HCS Counselors Sheena McClain and William French, Lamont Lee of DHCD, HCS Counselor Eduardo Flores and HCS Program Director Darren Snell after the judicial hearings at DC Superior Court.

Helping Residents Keep Their Homes, One Client at a Time

Housing Counseling Services, Inc. (HCS) is a DHCD grantee that provides comprehensive counseling, training, advocacy, and technical assistance for low and moderate-income home buyers, homeowners, tenants and the homeless. One program that HCS has tremendous success with is its foreclosure prevention services.

HCS helps hundreds of homeowners understand options and take actions to prevent foreclosure in various ways, including: (1) partnering with the Department of Insurance Securities and Banking (DISB) to operate the DC Foreclosure Prevention Hotline and provide counseling and legal support for homeowners in foreclosure; (2) counseling homeowners before and after judicial hearings at DC Superior Court; and (3) helping homeowners apply to DCHFA's Homesaver Program for individuals who have had reduced income due to changes in employment.

With many homeowners facing foreclosure now being summoned to court, HCS housing counselors are the only counselors allowed at the DC Superior Court to assist borrowers during actual foreclosure hearings. This unique arrangement ensures HCS reaches homeowners most in need. Every Thursday and Friday, DC Superior Court judges introduce HCS  counselors to all borrowers at foreclosure hearings and encourage every homeowner to meet with a counselor. The counselors provide homeowners with immediate information, schedule future appointments to identify loss mitigation options and offer assistance in taking appropriate steps to avoid foreclosure.

Solutions to mortgage delinquencies vary according to each client’s individual situation, so HCS provides tailored services. While some homeowners can resolve their delinquencies and remain in their homes, others find that their best solution is to release their home and identify more affordable housing. HCS counselors help homeowners to understand options, determine the best solutions, and take the necessary steps. For more information visit

Fall 2017 RFP Seeking Proposals to Produce and Preserve Affordable Housing  

DHCD recently issued its Fall 2017 funding notice and request for proposals (RFP) to produce and preserve affordable housing for District residents. This marks the second issuance of an RFP for the calendar year; the Spring RFP was issued in March 2017. 

The Fall RFP, as did the Spring, prioritizes projects that will primarily serve households earning below 30 percent of the Median Family Income (MFI) or between 31 percent-50 percent of MFI. Projects that include Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) units will be given great consideration.

DHCD hosted a December 13 orientation session attended by more than 50 prospective applicants. It highlighted new and notable features of the Fall RFP such as:

  1. An estimated $5.4 million in funding from the new federal National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) that must be used to construct new affordable units for households earning below 30 percent of MFI. The NHTF is a resource from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  2. Approximately $7 million in 9% LIHTCs are available by DHCD, in addition to the 4% LIHTCs available from DCHFA.

“It’s a competitive process,” said Director Donaldson at the orientation session. “But we’re looking forward to getting our resources out the door.”

Applicants must submit their proposals by February 14, 2018. 

December 2017 Edition

Happy Holidays

Filing Period Now Open for LIHTC and HOME Annual Owner’s Certifications

Owners of affordable housing projects developed with Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and Home Investment Partnership (HOME) Program funds in the District must file their 2017 certification and monitoring documents by Friday, February 16, 2018. The filing of annual Owner’s Certifications of Compliance as well as 2018 Monitoring Compliance Fees for LIHTC properties is required by the LIHTC and HOME Act. Failing to submit or complete the requested monitoring forms and documents in their entirety may result in noncompliance with federal regulations governing the District. For more details, contact Sharron Campbell at or 202-442-7138.

Single Family Rebab Program Issues New Income Eligibility Limits

DHCD’s Single Family Residential Rehabilitation Program (SFRRP) helps households finance minor home repairs that will address building code violations, repair roofs, remove threats to health and safety, and modify and/or eliminate barriers to accessibility for persons with mobility or other physical impairments.

SFRRP’s updated income eligibility limits are now on DHCD’s website. Go to, click on Eligibility/How to Apply, and then click on Current Income Limits at the bottom of the page. As a reminder, applicants also must all meet the following criteria: (1) occupancy as the primary homeowner for at least three years; (2) payment of all District and federal taxes; (3) inability to obtain private financing; (3) acceptable credit report; and (4) updated homeowner’s insurance. 

New Facts Sheets Explain EAHP Enhancements 

DHCD recently issued new fact sheets explaining the enhancements made by Mayor Bowser to the Employer-Assisted Housing Program (EAHP) for District government employees and first-responders. As a reminder: (1) all employees now get up to $20,000 in down payment assistance and up to $5,000 in matching fund grants; and (2) first-responders also qualify for up to $10,000 of down payment assistance in the form of a recoverable grant (under certain conditions) and up to $15,000 in matching fund grants. 


Over $1.45M in HPAP/ EAHP Goes to 28 Households in November

In November, 28 households in the District received more than $1.45 million in down payment and closing cost assistance to become first-time homeowners. Congratulations to our newest Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) and EAHP recipients!

Quick Links

Here are some links to popular DHCD services:


Our Video Story 

Check out our 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.