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The District has several programs in both the housing and community economic development space that aim to increase equity across communities as well as cultivate a vibrant and prosperous DC for all residents. From homelessness prevention programs to small business technical assistance, there are numerous initiatives, programs and policies that CNHED supports and leverages throughout our work.
The Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF) provides loans and grants to both nonprofit and for-profit developers of affordable housing in the District of Columbia, for new construction and preservation. It is funded primarily by a dedicated revenue stream of 15% of the DC Deed Transfer and Recordation Tax, and is administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development. The HPTF can be used for housing that serves households at 0-80% of Area Median Income (AMI) which helps to keep residents from being displaced from DC’s changing neighborhoods. The Housing Production Trust Fund funds a variety of housing opportunities that would not otherwise exist.
Modeled after the federal Section 8 program, the Local Rent Supplement Program, also known as LRSP, supplements housing costs at the tenant-, project- and sponsor-based levels. Vouchers distributed at the tenant level allow tenants to pay no more than 30% of their income by making up the difference between that amount and market rent, allowing residents to enter the open housing market to find the housing option best for them. Tenant-based vouchers allow residents to enter the open market to find the housing option that is best for them by making up the difference between market rent and affordable rent (30% of household income). Vouchers distributed at the project- and sponsor-based levels are attached to specific units (instead of to tenants) and distributed to organizations that develop or lease those units and make them available to tenants with low incomes. This locally funded program is administered by the DC Housing Authority with the goal of producing and maintaining affordable housing options in the District. To date, the Local Rent Supplement Program has produced more than 1,000 units and subsidized rent for nearly 700 families through tenant-based vouchers.
The Small Business Technical Assistance Program aims to increase business retention rates of in low- and moderate-income communities. With community revitalization in mind, the Department of Housing and Community Development provides assistance through local nonprofits, including but not limited to: microloan packaging, business planning, entrepreneurial training, one-on-one business technical assistance, tax preparation assistance, accounting assistance, and legal assistance. Collective business support activities such as the formation of business alliances, business corridor promotion, mass marketing, volume discount efforts, and collective space management are also available.
The Home Purchase Assistance Program, also known as HPAP, helps low- and moderate-income District residents purchase their first homes through downpayment and closing cost assistance. Qualified participants can receive up to $44,000 from the Department of Housing and Community Development to purchase single family houses, condominiums and cooperative apartments. Most HPAP funds go to applicants with incomes at 30%-80% AMI and who successfully complete training from nonprofits to become ready to purchase. The preparation provided by nonprofits includes: credit counseling, homebuyer clubs, and more.
“Housing First,” is one model of permanent supportive housing. The Housing First model is based on the idea that people are better able to use supportive services after they are in their own housing. The first step is to help a client get into permanent housing; a place where they can stay and build a better life that is not time-limited. From there the individual or family can take steps to address other issues. Residents in Housing First do not have to accept services to get or keep their housing. Residents are given a standard lease agreement and supportive services are voluntary. A wide range of services are available, allowing residents to be their own agents of change and have independent responsibility for their future.
The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Program helps DC residents who wish to remain in apartments that are about to be sold by purchasing them as a tenant association. The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act gives tenants in DC the first right to buy their building when the owner decides to sell. When owners decide to sell a building, they must alert the tenants and offer them a reasonable sale price. This price must be similar to what the owners would offer an outside buyer. The tenants must then respond within a set period of time indicating their interest to purchase the property. Low-income tenants are eligible to receive funds through the Housing Production Trust Fund to make sure that they can afford to purchase and renovate their buildings, which often require significant repairs.
When tenants exercise the right to purchase their building, they may convert it into condominiums and purchase individual units or create joint ownership through a limited equity cooperative. In a limited equity cooperative, there are restrictions placed on the purchase and resale price of a membership share, which maintains affordability for future residents. Tenants who purchase may also preserve affordability and complete repairs through an agreement with a third party developer.