Washington, D.C., the nation's capital and an international city, lies on the east bank of the Potomac River. The main industry is government. This economic sector employs roughly 2.8 million people. With 20 million visitors a year, tourism has become Washington's second largest income producer. However, over the last decade, the District has experienced dramatic changes and shifts in its population, housing stock and housing and community development needs which have impacted upon the quality of life of it's citizens.
The District of Columbia will receive the following funds for FY 1996:
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)District FY 1996: $35,201,000 (federal grant of $24.4 million and local income of $10.8 million);
HOME Investment PartnershipsDistrict FY 1996: $6,585,000 (federal grant of $5.18 million and local match of $1.4 million);
Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG)District FY 1996: $808,000 federal grant;
Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)District FY 1996: $4,659,000 federal grant
(regional allocation with District share of $2,680,933);
On October 20, 1994, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) held a public hearing (6:30 p.m.) to announce the beginning of the FY 1996 to 2000 Consolidated Plan development process. The purpose of the hearing was to obtain citizen views on the District's housing and community development needs and program performance, and to receive suggestions for strategies to address those needs.
Based upon the comments received from the public, community groups and other D.C. Government agencies, the draft Consolidated Plan was developed and made available to the public on February 6, 1995. The draft document was distributed to D.C. public libraries, Community-Based Organizations, Community Development Corporations, and D.C. Government agencies. At the same time of the October public hearing, the interagency liaison group that developed the CHAS was reconvened to develop the Consolidated Plan. With D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) as the lead agency, this group included representatives of DC Housing Authority, Office of Planning, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Department of Human Services (including numerous representatives in social, health and mental service areas), the D.C. Care Consortium and The Community Partnership.
In the City's efforts to maintain the participation of its citizens in the Consolidated Plan development process, notices of the public hearing on the draft FY 1996-2000 Consolidated Plan were published beginning on January 30, 1995 in several daily and weekly newspapers. The second public hearing was held on February 28, 1995 at 7:00 p.m. at One Judiciary Square. During the hearing the public was informed that the record would remain open until March 10 to provide an opportunity for additional comments on needs, strategies priorities in relationship to the Consolidated Plan.
The proposed Consolidated Plan was developed after the February 28,1995
public hearing. DHCD transmitted the proposed Consolidated Plan to the Council
of the District of Columbia for its public hearing on the proposed Consolidated
Plan. The Council approval of the proposed Consolidated Plan was effective July
DHCD's responsibility is to facilitate the availability of adequate,
affordable, housing and economic opportunities to meet the needs of current and
future residents. Because federal funding requires that activities be focused on
assisting low and moderate income persons, assistance to low and moderate income
persons will continue to be the primary focus of the D. C. Government's housing
and community development activities.
Over the last 10 years, the city's population has declined nearly 5%, although the number of households has stayed fairly constant. There was a significant decrease in the African- American population, which previous studies attribute to individuals of all income levels leaving the city. At the same time, there were significant increases in the Hispanic and Asian populations, consistent with trends throughout the United States.
There is a need for home ownership and rental housing opportunities for middle and moderate-income households, maintenance of the District's supply of reasonably priced housing, and provision of affordable housing for members of the community with special needs, such as senior citizens and individuals with disabilities.
While the number of households over the last twenty years has declined, the overall housing stock in total units is approximately the same. The number of occupied rental units had declined by about 36,000, but at the same time the number of owner units has increased dramatically from 28% to 39% of occupied units. Much of this increase can be attributed to the success of District Programs, such as the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP), which assists renters to become homeowners. The number of vacant units, especially vacant available for rent and other vacant, which includes boarded up units, has grown significantly. Because the District's housing stock has remained constant and the population has dropped, there is sufficient existing housing to meet the needs of lower income persons in the city. What is needed is sufficient resources to repair deteriorated housing and to subsidize rents for those persons unable to afford decent housing.
The cost of the median priced home is rising faster then the median income of persons who might purchase a home. Along with this price increase is a steep increase in the amount of downpayment needed to purchase a home, using the traditional requirement of 20% downpayment. Starting in 1980, there was an affordability problem for average families interested in purchasing a home for the first time. However, the affordability picture improved in 1992 because of lower interest rates for mortgages. This becomes an important issue in relation to the city's ability to attract or retain working or middle class families to the city. The District's programs to support first time purchase of homes by low and moderate income families are critical to the ability of such persons to afford home purchases in the District.
Single, non-elderly households, especially the very low income, is the group with the largest percentage paying too much of income for rent, with only 25% occupying affordable housing and 61% experiencing severe rent burden paying more than 50% of income for rent. Single, non-elderly households are generally not eligible for occupancy in federally assisted housing. Further, over time this group's income should increase as young, single persons gain job experience, making housing more affordable in contrast to elderly persons whose income is usually fixed over time. The elderly very low income renters have a slightly greater percentage of rent burden than families paying more than 50% of income for rent. Other low income persons (51 to 80 percent of median income) have fared better than very low income persons, with a much lower percent having rent burden.
Many of the persons occupying affordable housing are housed in the more than 30,000 units of subsidized housing in Washington, D.C. However, because the Federal government has cut the amount of funding allocated to the creation of additional subsidized housing units by almost 90% over the last 10 years, the number of households paying more rent than they can afford can be expected to increase in the future. This is particularly true as rent levels escalate over time and the number of cheaper rental units in the housing stock declines. Although rising housing incomes partially offset the escalation of rents, the loss of almost 120,000 units renting for less than $250 between 1977 and 1990 is dramatic. At the same time, moderate cost rentals in the $250-$500 range peaked in 1985 and declined by 1990, while higher cost rentals over $500 have increased steadily.
The 1990 Census has reported a total of 4,862 homeless persons in the District of Columbia, with 4,731 designated as being in shelters and 131 living on the streets. The shelters include emergency shelters, shelters for runaway, neglected and homeless children, and shelters for abused women. This Census count has been criticized by many persons as under counting the homeless population, both in shelters and on the street, and most local estimates of homelessness are higher than the Census count. The Community Partnership has been designated by both HUD and the District Government as the public-private agency responsible for homeless programs in the city. The Community Partnership estimates a total of 7,608 homeless persons, with 2,849 persons in emergency shelters, 2,164 persons living in transitional housing, and 2,595 persons unsheltered and living on the streets.
The District proposes a strategy to address the needs of its dependent population, including the homeless and other special need populations (e.g. the frail elderly, chronically mentally ill, drug and alcohol abusers, HIV infected). This strategy includes a special partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) called the D.C. Initiative to address the needs of homeless persons and families. The District's homeless and special need housing production efforts will focus on:
Continued development of the D.C. Initiative for the homeless under the public- private partnership created under the leadership of The Community Partnership.
Provision of transitional housing for persons with special needs such as mental health, substance abuse and medical treatment for HIV or other health problems. The Community Partnership has ambitious plans for expansion of transitional and permanent housing resources over a multi-year period.
Support to develop permanent housing opportunities as a means out of current homeless or institutional systems. This includes development and expansion of single room occupancy (SRO) housing.
Improved coordination of the many public and private sources of financing for special needs housing to create more effective and efficient development of housing resources.
Continue cooperative efforts between the District's Agency for HIV/AIDS and the D.C. Care Consortium to implement an innovative housing, coordination and referral service to expand available housing options for individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS (funded under the federal Ryan White and HOPWA programs.)
Integration of special needs populations into neighborhoods on a city-wide basis (e.g. persons with disabilities, homeless population) This should include the development of multi-unit buildings for SRO and transitional family housing for the homeless and other special needs populations.
D.C. Housing Authority (DCHA) is the seventh largest public housing authority in the nation with 11,781 public housing units under management. Of the 11,781 conventional public housing units under DCHA management, 310 are scattered site units, with the remaining 11,471 units located within public housing buildings and developments. As of July 1, 1993, there were a total of 995 non-modernization vacant units which were classified as follows: minor disrepair units, moderate disrepair units, and major disrepair units. As part of DCHA's five-year strategic planning program, a comprehensive vacant unit reduction effort is being implemented to address the number and percentage of vacant units.
In addition, DCHA administers the federally funded Section 8 Program and the locally funded Tenant Assistance Program (TAP). DCHA is currently administering 4,511 Section 8 housing units. As of December 31, 1994, the TAP Program, which is patterned after the Section 8 Program served 1,865 families and individuals.
The District's goal to provide adequate and affordable housing is based on public policy designed to address the housing needs and problems of its residents. The District has designed many affirmative policies and programs to address housing needs and problems. It has also identified some of the barriers to more effective housing production.
The primary legislative initiative affecting rental affordability is rent control. The District initially enacted the rent control law in 1977 and it has resulted in keeping rent levels about $100 per month cheaper than housing in the surrounding jurisdictions. During the 1980's, rent increases allowed have generally kept pace with the rate of inflation in housing management costs, allowing a reasonable rate of return on investment. However, small landlords having few units realize a lower rate of return. The law also includes a number of important exemptions which assist housing production.
The District also enacted numerous laws and programs to ease the impact of condominium conversion on lower income renters. Additional enforcement standards were added to the District's housing code to facilitate housing code enforcement and Homestead legislation which allows the city to acquire properties that are seriously tax delinquent and sell them to low and moderate income persons to repair and occupy. The City has enacted a significant number of tax provisions to assist housing conditions and production such as the Homestead Exemption, Senior Citizen Homestead and Lower Income Homeownership Abatement.
Additional barriers have been identified and legal and regulatory changes are being considered. The City will conduct a thorough review of the following: all policies relating to vacant housing, the building permit process, zoning regulations, and the Housing Production Trust Fund.
Support services are needed to provide the District's low and moderate income population access to greater housing choice. This involves overcoming numerous obstacles to housing choice experienced by lower income households, and especially minority African-American and Latino households, including: discrimination in lending through redlining of lower income neighborhoods and/or discriminatory loan approval practices and discrimination in acceptance of applications for rental housing.
The District has developed a strategy to overcome the above obstacles which includes: housing counseling, tracking the lending practices of District banking institutions, encouraging the development of new financing mechanisms and public-private partnerships to expand private lending opportunities, increase fair housing enforcement.
It is estimated that at a minimum, 81,500 housing units in the District are at high risk for lead-based paint hazards. The existing lead-based paint legislation in the District is D.C. Law 5-35, the Lead Poisoning Prevention Act of 1983 established the program but provided limited enforcement authority.
Within the District government, there are two agencies responsible for administering the Lead Poisoning Prevention Act of 1983. The Department of Human Services, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP), is responsible for the medical management of children found to have lead poisoning. The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), Housing Regulation Administration, is responsible for conducting inspections and testing for lead poisoning as well as monitoring and enforcing hazard abatement and reduction activity. Additionally, the D.C. Housing Authority has developed a strategy for public housing which includes activities in four general areas: (1) health programs, (2) insurance, (3) hiring and training lead-based paint employees and (4) abatement.
There is a need retain the City's employment base and expand opportunities. Sufficient well paying jobs are needed to provide the income necessary to obtain decent and affordable housing, provide the base for balanced and stable neighborhoods which strengthen the tax base and foster more viable communities.
The District's Assistant City Administrator for Economic Development took
the lead on behalf of the City in coordinating submission of the Consolidated
The District of Columbia believes that a new direction is needed for the city's housing and community development needs and has developed the following mission statement:
The District proposes a strategy to encourage expansion of homeownership in the city. Homeownership lends stability to neighborhoods, encourages families to remain in the city, and also helps support the city's tax base. One of the most cost effective means of assisting low income renters to become homeowners is to provide downpayment assistance (including closing costs where necessary) to purchase existing homes in decent condition. The District will also focus future efforts on targeting ownership assistance as part of neighborhood improvement and stabilization activities. This includes encouraging ownership opportunities in low income neighborhoods of the city to provide a mix of incomes in those areas and also to provide more stability for those neighborhoods. This includes a special focus on areas across the Anacostia River in Wards 6,7 and 8. The District will also increase private sector participation and leveraging of public funds with private resources. This may include expanded use of private financing through participation in national secondary money markets and local community development lending.The District will also encourage occupants of subsidized rental housing to become homeowners.
The District has adopted a strategy for rental housing which includes the preservation and rehabilitation of the supply of affordable federally subsidized housing (public and privately owned), totalling over 30,000 units, or 1 in 5 rental units in the city. The strategy includes increasing the occupancy level of the existing public housing inventory by significantly reducing the number of vacant units. The District places emphasis on rehabilitation programs for privately owned housing which restores decent living conditions. The District will also continue the expansion of tenant assistance to low income households.
The District's priority will focus on creating jobs and business opportunities for District residents, as part of the city's effort to create and maintain healthy and viable neighborhoods. An important vehicle for achieving this strategy is to build the capacity of neighborhood economic development activity. Activities will include:
Improving the operation of existing economic development programs;
Marketing and developing District owned sites which will provide key, visible "anchors" for economic revitalization and neighborhood stabilization;
Expanding community development areas to include areas of economic development opportunity;
Assisting neighborhood based Community Development Corporations to increase their capacity to stimulate economic development;
Monitoring and encouraging Community Reinvestment Act financing opportunities by private lenders;
Stimulating the creation of small and minority businesses;
Targeting public and assisted housing residents and other low income families (including the homeless) for job training;
Enhancing efforts to retain and attract private sector firms in the city; and
Focusing on Enterprise Community initiatives.
Many of the problems affecting today's urban environments - problems of crime, joblessness, homelessness, lack of housing, and limited access to health services and care can be linked to issues surrounding poverty for low-income Americans. To meet the challenge for effectively impacting these problems, the District will continue to expand on current initiatives to form the nucleus of its anti-poverty initiative. The cornerstone of this initiative will be self-sufficiency and economic independence fostered throughout all programs. The strategies will focus on additional ways to support low income families in moving through barriers that impact their ability to live self-sufficient lives. The goal is to restructure the current service delivery system.
The District with use Community Development Block Grant Funds, HOME funds, Emergency Shelter grants, HOPWA funds and numerous other public and private resources to carry out it's strategic Plan.
The Mayor and the Council provide overall executive and legislative direction and establish priorities for housing and economic development decisions for the District. Many of the District Government Agencies have a role in carrying out housing initiatives. Some of these agencies are: Department of Housing & Community Development, D. C. Housing Authority, Housing Finance Agency, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Planning and the Department of Human Rights and Minority Business Development and the Department of Human Services.
Public institutions are charged with executing the District's affordable and
supportive housing strategy such as HUD, FNMA, GMNA and FHLB. These institutions
have a great influence on financing decisions of private lenders. Numerous
non-profit organizations provide a variety of services to District residents
and non-profit foundations support affordable housing initiatives. The
Department of Human Services has an extensive network of non-profit and
for-profit social service agencies dealing with different segments of the
special needs population.
The following are the budgets for the four federal entitlement grant programs included in the Consolidated Plan covering the District's Fiscal Year 1996.
CDBG PROGRAM - $35,201,000
Home Purchase Opportunity Fund
Neighborhood Housing Preservation Fund
Community Development Opportunity Fund
Community Support Service Fund
Planning and Administration Fund
HOME PROGRAM - $6,585,000
EMERGENCY SHELTER GRANT PROGRAM - $808,000
HOPWA - $2,680,933
MAP 2 depicts low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts low-moderate income areas and minority concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts low-moderate income areas and unemployment levels.
MAP 5 depicts proposed HUD funded projects at street level for one neighborhood.
MAP 6 depicts proposed HUD funded projects at street level for another neighborhood.
Grants Development and Planning Branch
D. C. Department of Housing and Community Development
51 N. Street N. E., Washington D. C. 20001