March 2018 DHCD Connection Newsletter

Department of Housing and Community Development Connection

Letter from the DHCD Director

polly D

Greetings Washingtonians, 

I was pleased to testify before the DC Council Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization at our March 7 performance oversight hearing, sharing our accomplishments and giving a peek at what’s ahead.

I encourage you to view my testimony (start at 3:50), but here are some highlights from FY 2017:

  • Our management of Mayor Bowser’s unprecedented commitment of $100 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF) is improving the lives of District residents today—and will for decades to come—despite the rising real estate market.
  • As a result of home purchase assistance enhancements, individuals and families from every Ward—and particularly Wards 7 and 8—have increased purchasing power.
  • We’ve given residents the tools they need to become homeowners and entrepreneurs by funding housing counseling and small business technical assistance (SBTA) services through community-based organizations (CBOs).
  • As you’ll read below, we are making progress disposing of vacant and blighted property.   
  • We had a stand-out year for the Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) program.
  • After a nine-year wait, we drafted regulations under the District Opportunity to Purchase Act (DOPA), and I can confidently say DOPA will be fully implemented in FY 2018, thanks to Mayor Bowser’s leadership.

I also thank the staff at DHCD, because without their efforts, these accomplishments would not have been possible.

We are not resting on our laurels in FY 2018. See the article below about two major initiatives that will preserve more affordable housing for our residents.


Finally, Mayor Bowser introduced Roots to Roofs DC during her March 16 State of the District address. It’s a follow up to her African American prosperity initiatives and a renewed effort to connect residents new and old to the many housing programs we have available. You’ll hear more in the weeks to come but I encourage you to visit and share your story about what living in the District means to you.

Polly Donaldson, DHCD Director 

Follow me on Twitter @maryrandolph

Mayor's FY 2019 Budget Released


Budget Proposal Extends Commitment to Affordable Housing

Mayor Muriel Bowser today presented “A Fair Shot,” the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget and Financial Plan, to the DC Council. This marks the District’s 23rd consecutive balanced budget.

“This budget is about giving more Washingtonians a fair shot,” said Mayor Bowser. “From investing in tax credits that make child care more affordable to expanding programs that allow seniors to age in place, the Fair Shot budget will do more to make Washington, DC a place where people of all backgrounds and in all stages of life are able to live and thrive.”

Regarding affordable housing, the Mayor:

  • continues her annual commitment of $100 million to the HPTF;
  • for the second year in a row, extends her commitment of $10 million to a Housing Preservation Fund (see more on the fund below);
  • includes a $10 million increase for the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) and Employer Assisted Housing Program (EAHP), putting homeownership in reach for more District residents and DC government employees;
  • provides $96 million to subsidize affordable housing through the DC Housing Authority (DCHA); and
  • includes $57 million for the New Communities Initiatives at Park Morton, Barry Farm, and Lincoln Heights/Richardson Dwellings.

Vacant to Vibrant DC

V2V auction

Mayor Bowser Announces Sale of All 33 Vacant Properties 

Mayor Muriel Bowser recently announced the sale of 33 District-owned vacant properties that will be transformed into affordable workforce housing. The properties were sold in an auction as part of Vacant to Vibrant DC.

“Through Vacant to Vibrant DC, we are making good on our commitment to get more Washingtonians on pathways to the middle class,” said Mayor Bowser. “The successful auction of all thirty-three vacant spaces speaks to the demand for more workforce housing, community green spaces, and economic development opportunities for small businesses. Through these projects, we will deliver all three.”

All 33 sites received bids during the five-day auction held by Alex Cooper Auctioneers in January. Upon completion, the properties will be sold to households earning no more than $132,350 for a family of four (120 percent of the Median Family Income).

Next steps for the bidders include public hearings on April 4 and April 5 (see sidebar at top right), DC Council review, and design review of their development plans.

“DHCD is moving quickly toward the goal of closing on all properties by the summer of 2018, so that new workforce housing is available for residents by the middle of next year,” said Director Donaldson.

This spring, look forward to announcements regarding Action 2—Supporting Small Business to Spur Homeownership for District Employees, under which Certified Business Enterprises (CBEs) are bidding to renovate sites into workforce housing; Action 4—Expanding Green Space: a partnership with Casey Trees to expand and preserve green space in Ward 8; and Action 5—Seeing a Tiny House in Action, a demonstration project in partnership with the DC Students Construction Trades Foundation. As part of Action 3—Building Homes Through HIP, the DC Housing Financing Agency (DCHFA) announced H2 Design Build and H.E.P Construction as the final developer partners to build workforce housing on two sites under its Housing Investment Platform (HIP). 

Housing Spotlight

Van Balen

New Preservation Officer, Fund Managers Mark More Affordable Housing Progress

Mayor Bowser recently announced the appointment of Ana Van Balen (at left) as the District’s First Affordable Housing Preservation Officer and Capital Impact Partners and Local Initiatives Support Corporation-DC (LISC-DC) as managers of the District’s $10 million Affordable Housing Preservation Fund. The Mayor’s Housing Preservation Strike Force recommended the creation of both the fund and a preservation unit headed by the new preservation officer as two of six critical strategies to preserve affordable rental housing in the District.

The Preservation Officer, the only mayoral-appointed, high-level position of its type in the country, will focus on: (1) preserving affordable units that exist with and without government subsidies; and (2) collecting and maintaining data on affordable housing. Along with other private and philanthropic investments, the $10 million in the Housing Preservation Fund will be used to grow the fund to approximately $40 million. These monies will quickly provide short-term bridge acquisition and predevelopment financing to eligible borrowers. 

"When I established the Strike Force in 2015, its mandate was clear—develop an action plan that ensures the District does not lose any of its already existing affordable housing,” said Mayor Bowser. “Ana has a strong background in economic, housing, and community development, strategic planning, and engagement, and we know she will serve the residents of DC well. Capital Impact Partners and LISC-DC both have deep, long-standing commitments to affordable housing and my Administration looks forward to working together to get this money out the door and into preservation projects.”

NAHRO and DHCD Educate Hill Staffers on Value of Federally Funded Projects

With federal budget discussions underway and cuts to critical housing and community development funding threatened, Director Donaldson and National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) representatives recently escorted two staffers from the U.S. House and Senate appropriations committees on a tour of these federally funded projects:

  • John and Jill Ker Conway Residence (new construction project for homeless veterans), 1005 North Capitol Street NE, funded through the Home Investment Partnership (HOME) Program.
  • Maycroft Apartments (preservation project), 1474 Columbia Road NW, funded through HOME and the HPTF.
  • Girard Street Senior Apartments (new construction project), 1545 Girard Street NE, which used HOME funds.

The staffers also learned about how Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds are used to support housing counseling, home purchase, and SBTA services through our CBOs,

NAHRO initiated the tour to help congressional staffers seeking to better understand the impact of those two Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program.s

“Keeping D.C. affordable for vulnerable families, even as more people with higher incomes move into the city, is the right thing to do and what makes D.C. so special,” Donaldson said. “The creation, development, preservation, and expansion of highly affordable housing is vital to the city’s success.”

Jubilee Housing, developer of Maycroft, provided content for this article.

March 2018 Edition

Donaldson to Appear on WHUR’s Daily Drum Tomorrow

Tune into WHUR’s Daily Drum show tomorrow evening, March 22, when Director Donaldson will discuss the District’s affordable housing initiatives and take questions from listeners. The first 15 minutes (7:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.) will be on 96.3 FM. At 7:30 p.m., the show switches to WHUR Voices Sirius XM Channel 141 for 30 minutes. 

Mark the Dates: April 4 and 5 Public Hearings on Vacant to Vibrant DC Auction Sites

Two public hearings will consider the proposed sale of properties included in the Vacant to Vibrant DC auction. View the D.C. Register April 4 hearing notice and D.C. Register April 5 notice for a complete list of the specific properties. See the events section below for location and RSVP information. 

Become Sponsor, Exhibitor at June 9 Housing Expo

By exhibiting at the 10th Annual Housing Expo and Home Show on June 9 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, businesses and agencies can reach more than 6,000 attendees. Special sponsorship packages are also offered that will provide greater visibility for your business. Typically, only about 200 exhibitor slots are available, so download your package now

Building Owners: Make Your Property Lead Safe

The law requires that owners of properties built before 1978 make sure their buildings are free of lead-based paint hazards. Lead-based paint may cause severe health problems to your tenants, particularly if they are young children and pregnant women. Learn how we can provide grant funding to help you fix this problem.


Over $1.5M in HPAP/ EAHP Goes to 28 Households in February

In February, 28 households in the District received more than $1.508 million in down payment and closing cost assistance to become first-time homeowners. Congratulations to our newest Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) and Employer Assisted Housing Program (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.