Robert C. Larson Awards 2017 Winner: Washington, DC

Washington DC’s Department of Housing and Community Development, under the leadership of Mayor Muriel Bowser, has utilized a holistic approach toward the affordable housing needs of the city. Through a four-pronged approach DHCD is investing in production, redeveloping vacant properties, strengthening home ownership programs and prioritizing preservation.

Through the Housing Product Trust Fund (HPTF) thousands of affordable housing units and have been produced and preserved across the city. The Fund represents the second largest in the country; the mayor has committed $100 million annually to the Fund each year of her administration—more than any city per capita in the country. As a result of the financing provided by the HPTF along with other funding sources, over 3,100 affordable rental and homeownership units have been produced and preserved in the last two years across all eight wards, with another 3,700-plus affordable housing units in the pipeline.

The Administration is also aggressively moving vacant and blighted properties out of the pipeline – of the approximately 160 such properties in DHCD’s inventory, at least half are at various stages of disposition. In the last two years, DHCD has enhanced the solicitations process to dispose of vacant and blighted properties. The agency has shortened its normal competitive Request for Proposals to disposition process, improved its solicitation process and now allows applicants to apply online. Additionally, the District has enhanced existing affordable homeownership programs by increasing financial assistance and longer loan payback periods, giving District residents who are first-time homebuyers more purchasing power and a greater pathway to homeownership.

Finally, Mayor Bowser released a report from the DC Housing Preservation Strike Force detailing a proactive, multi-pronged strategy for the District to use in preserving its existing supply of affordable housing. The DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has begun the process of implementing the Strike Force recommendations with the goal of completing them by 2020.

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