January 2019 DHCD Connection Newsletter

Department of Housing and Community Development Connection

Letter from the DHCD Director

polly D

Greetings Washingtonians, 

For many of us, January marks the beginning of our New Year’s Resolutions. But for the administration of Mayor Muriel Bowser, January 2019 marks the start of her historic second term — and the Mayor is asking all of us to think bolder, bigger, and even more creatively, so that the District can continue to be a place for residents of all incomes.

Thanks to the Mayor’s leadership, over the last four years DHCD made significant strides in producing and preserving more affordable housing for District residents. We delivered 6,000 units of affordable housing and are well on our way to 10,000 more units in the next four years, invested over $471 million in the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF), launched a significant preservation strategy, increased investment in homeownership programs and produced more than 800 units of permanent supportive housing (PSH).

We are proud that these accomplishments have resulted in safe and affordable housing for residents such as seniors, veterans, large families, and the formerly homeless. But we want to ensure more people have a fair shot to live in our wonderful city. So Mayor Bowser set her Term 2 goals in her January 2 inaugural address: By 2025, the region needs to produce 240,000 additional units, and the District should produce 36,000 units—to include affordable housing across the entire income spectrum from our most vulnerable residents to workers like firefighters, police officers, and teachers.  

To accomplish this goal, the Mayor has called us to go beyond and review outdated laws and regulations that are not in step with a growing city and rising housing costs. This will necessitate everyone working together as never before: the executive branch, the DC Council, DC government agencies, for-profit and nonprofit developers—and private citizens. Every neighborhood in the city can play an active part in developing affordable housing solutions.

DHCD is looking forward to coming up with creative and big ideas that will produce and preserve even more affordable housing in our great city, and we look forward to partnering with you!

Polly Donaldson, DHCD Director

Follow me on Twitter: @maryrandolph

Roots to Roofs

Ward 6 Resident Lives Steps from His Job,
Thanks to Inclusionary Zoning Program


Jonathon Martin is a native Washingtonian and District Government employee with strong roots in the community. He wanted to continue to live in DC, but was concerned that he could not afford to do so because of rising rent costs.That concern eased after a former co-worker told him about the Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) program. He received his orientation through the Greater Washington Urban League (GWUL) in 2017.

“Once there I was surprised about all that is offered for District residents and how helpful and informative everyone was,” said Jonathon. “There were programs for credit counseling, home buying, and so much that it really made me confident that I was in the right hands.”

Jonathon works in Southwest Washington by the Waterfront Metro, where he saw the Valo Apartments being constructed and wondered if that could be his next home. When he got the lottery notification from IZ staffer Kathy Haines, he applied and was ecstatic after he was accepted as a rental tenant. He loved the look of the building—and the fact that his office was across the street was an extra bonus!

Now Jonathon is in a new home, and has new goals for the future. “I started the year 2019 in a new apartment that I thought I would never have dreamed of living in, especially growing up when sometimes we were not sure what was for dinner,” he said. "I believe all good things come to those who are patient but yet also persistent. This is just the beginning for me—the next step now is home buying.”

south capitol

Mayor Bowser Breaks Ground at Ward 8's
Good Food Markets, Also Affordable Housing Site

On January 3, Mayor Bowser noted her excitement at starting her second term as Mayor “the right way: by breaking ground on a much-needed new grocery store in Ward 8.” A Good Food Markets is being constructed on the corner of South Capitol Street SE and Atlantic Street SE, and will bring fresh food and job opportunities to the Bellevue community. But that’s not all. The site also will house the South Capitol Street Apartments, which will include 195 units of affordable housing, to include 20 PSH units. So while this was a big celebration of much-needed retail coming to the community, the affordable housing was a big discussion point among dignitaries such as Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White, Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (who chairs the DC Council’s Committee on Business and Economic Development), Deputy Mayor Kenner, and ANC8D Commissioner Olivia Henderson.

donaldson and lee at south cap

Director Donaldson and DC Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) Executive Director/CEO Todd Lee were in the audience representing the agencies that helped to fund the affordable housing.

The focus on both retail and housing particularly may have been the case coming on the heels of Mayor Bowser’s January 2 inaugural address, when she mentioned a bigger vision for affordable housing production and preservation in her second term.

ainger ground

Church Breaks Ground on Affordable Housing for Individuals and Families in Ward 8

DHCD celebrated its first affordable housing groundbreaking of 2019 at the Ainger Place Apartments in the Randle Heights neighborhood of Ward 8. Ainger Place Development Corporation (APDC)—a nonprofit arm of Emmanuel Baptist Church (EBC)—and the Michaels Development Group will construct a 72-unit development at the site for individuals and families.

At Ainger Place, 54 units will be designated for households at no more than 50 percent of the Median Family Income (MFI, $58,600 based on a family of four), 18 units will be no more than $35,160 (30 percent MFI)—10 will have Local Rent Supplement Program (LRSP) subsidies administered by the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) and eight will be PSH.

The financing for the $29.3 million project includes $10.69 million from the HPTF, as well as $10.1 million raised through the sale of federal 4 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) and $13.75 million via tax exempt bonds through DCHFA, and a $5.95 million HUD FHA-insured loan from SunTrust Bank.


Director Donaldson started her remarks on a personal note, as Councilmember White looked on, stating that her early work in the faith-based community gave her a special appreciation of the church's accomplishments. She then cited Mayor Bowser's Term 1 housing achievements and noted that as the Mayor calls on us to build more housing across all income spectrums, Ainger Place is a model of what we need to continue doing, as a team, to craft successful housing solutions for all District residents.

Other News of Note

Atlantic Apartment Homes Wins Housing Award


Atlantic Apartment Homes, a Ward 8 affordable housing project from WinnCompanies, won a Communities of Quality® (COQ) Award from the National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA). The 2018 NAHMA award recognized WinnCompanies for executing an “Outstanding Turnaround of a Troubled Property” at the site. The property, formerly known as Atlantic Gardens and Atlantic Terrace, consists of 303 mostly family-sized units and was substantially rehabilitated to provide its residents with modernized amenities, expanded community services, as well as energy savings as the largest community solar project in the District. DHCD provided $10.6 million in HPTF, and was one of several public and private sector partners thanked by the developer in its announcement of the award: "Without their involvement, this national example of a preservation and turn-around project would not have been possible.”

Housing Counseling CBO Buys Permanent Space in Columbia Heights

The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), a DHCD-funded community-based organization (CBO), has purchased a new office space at 1401 Columbia Road NW to serve as its permanent headquarters. LEDC staff and leadership will move into their new offices in June after building renovations are complete.

Currently, LEDC is operating out of the WeWork co-working space in Shaw, and prior to that spent over 20 years in Adams Morgan. In a press release, LEDC noted that it “looks forward to contributing to a hub for Latino and other underserved residents of DC that supports their success in the District.”

LEDC is one of several DHCD-funded CBOs that provide housing counseling services and training to potential homeowners, current homeowners, and tenants, focusing on low-to-moderate income residents and neighborhoods. Go here for a complete list.

January 2019 Edition


Get Connected to DC's Economic Development  Resources on Jan. 31

Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner invites you to DC ECON UNPLUGGED, a free event that connects you to DC's economic development. From arts to housing, transportation to environment, come get connected to the services and resources that grow DC’s economy.

  • Date: Thursday, January 31, 2019
  • Time: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Location: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • RSVP here.

We hope to see you there! 

Jan. 31 Workshop on TOPA: Learn About Tenant, Owner Obligations 

The District's Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) gives financial and technical assistance to tenant groups pursuing the purchase of their apartment buildings. But they must follow certain steps. Similarly, before a residential property is sold, landlords and realtors have clear responsibilities.

Tenants, landlords, and other housing providers can learn more at this upcoming Let’s Talk TOPA workshop:

  • Date: Thursday, January 31, 2019
  • Time: 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Location: DHCD’s Housing Resource Center
  • RSVP here.


Video Tells a Powerful Story of Affordable Housing Preservation

“We're ready to take control of our destiny.” This powerful statement came from a recent WUSA 9 story on tenants of the 5912 Missouri Tenants Association, who, thanks to TOPA and DC’s Affordable Housing Preservation Fund, will be able to both own and conduct repairs in their Ward 4 apartment building.

We shared in last month’s newsletter how almost $11 million will help preserve over 80 units of affordable housing in three properties. Subsequently. WUSA released a video version of its story. Please view and share it, because it really brings to life the impact that the District’s affordable housing tools has on residents.

Coming Soon: Public Meetings on DC’s Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice

In the coming weeks, DHCD will be announcing stakeholder meetings for the District’s Analysis of Impediments (AI) to Fair Housing Choice. The DC AI, a requirement under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), was last updated in 2011. An updated and more thorough AI will be completed in fiscal year 2019. As a part of that process, active participation by the public will be key to developing strategies for addressing myriad housing, employment, education, transportation, and other issues. DHCD’s consultants, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC), will participate in the stakeholder meetings.

Please sign up for our events distribution list to receive meeting dates. Contact Sonia P. Gutierrez, DHCD fair housing program manager, at 202-442-7200 or sonia.gutierrez@dc.gov, to get more information.


Over $2.76 M in HPAP/ EAHP Goes to 30 Households in December

In December, 30 households in the District received more than $2.76 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:


Video Stories


Five homeowners share how it is possible to purchase affordable housing in DC. 


This video shares how we are helping residents by producing and preserving affordable housing, and revitalizing neighborhoods. 


We had great memories from the 10th Annual DC Housing Expo and Home Show. See video clips here and here (the second is thanks to WHUR).